The Darlings

A Provocative Evening of Drag from Vancouver

The Darlings are a multidisciplinary non-binary drag troupe based in Vancouver. Their work challenges the boundaries of conventional drag and explores genderqueer, non-binary, and Trans experience through the use of movement, poetry, performance art, theatre, and immersive installation. During lockdown they began online shows, and their latest is a delight.

PM For A Good Time, Continental Breakfast and Maiden China are not your average Drag Race performers. While there are excellent lipsyncs much of the show is dedicated to physical theatre, comedy and burlesque. A clown orchestra performs, appropriately, Send In The Clowns, complete with silly string and party horns; in another segment, the troupe get ready to their favourite songs which all play at once. There’s even some ‘human marionette’ theatre. It’s glorious, glittery chaos.

My standout moments were definitely PM and Continental’s sinuous, flexible dance and the visually striking final section, with outfits made of magnetic tape and binbags. The soundtrack is well-chosen and features many queer artists, such as Perfume Genius and Antony and the Johnsons, among more discordant ‘glitchcore’ music. I also appreciated the troupe’s introductory acknowledgement of their privilege to be performing on Indigenous land and reminding us of the history of drag in black culture.

The Darlings are a welcome addition to the queer side of the Fringe, and I can’t wait to see what provocative, exciting work they produce next.


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