"The time has come...for you to lip sync...for your life!"
Ru Paul's famous Drag Race phrase is starting to feel pretty ironic - more than ever, it seems that singing is becoming a prerequisite to drag success. The vast majority of the show's contestants have since released singles and albums, some better than others.
And so to the UK and singing drag foursome the Supreme Fabulettes. The difference is that where the US queens rely on autotune, these talented girls can actually sing. Individually, it's Portia De Fosse who has the strongest vocal (and the highest kicks), even though Silver Summers is given the only solo number of the evening. Together with Vicki Vivacious and Vanilla Lush, they sing a variety of hit songs in tight harmony.
The show loosely follows the (fictional) history of the girl group: from their Supremes-esque conception in the '60s, through '70s disco, their downfall and imprisonment in the '90s, and their reforming in current day via 'The Screech' (a take on The Voice). The songs are interspersed with comic interludes from drag mother Sheila Simmonds, with some slightly awkward audience participation and tired jokes. She's joined by guest star Sam Buttery (a finalist in the first series of The Voice), whose performance is amusing and vocally impressive.
Despite the talent of the girls, the song choices are fairly clichéd: from Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman", to Madonna's "Express Yourself", ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme" and "One Night Only" from Dream Girls. The renditions are fun crowd-pleasers, but it borders on glorified karaoke. Between songs there's great chemistry between the girls as they banter and quip, and they're dressed in some sparkling costumes and towering head-pieces designed by Kylie Minogue's Creative Director, William Baker. It's clear, though, that the music and visuals are the main focus - there's an overall lack of biting comedy and originality.
That said, this is a solid and enjoyable old fashioned drag cabaret show that's far away from the modern perception of drag popularised by Ru Paul's Drag Race. There's plenty of glitz and glamour on show and the girls' performance provides real feelgood entertainment - these are singing drag queens with talent.
Watch: The Supreme Fabulettes perform at the Leicester Square Theatre throughout August.