Alyssa, Memoirs of A Queen at Vaudeville Theatre
I suppose I should start this review with a very clear disclaimer! I am a big Alyssa Edwards fan. Like huge. She is my queen of queens. A moment in Drag Race history.
Does this mean though that, in my capacity as a reviewer, I’m going to be biased and gush about her week long west end debut at the Vaudeville Theatre with ‘Alyssa, Memoirs of A Queen,’ without considering if there were ever moments in the show that could’ve been better? Simply put. Yes. Yes it does. Did you not just read the part about me being a huge fan?!
This queen can do no wrong in my eyes. She could’ve walked out onto that stage, screamed in my face for two hours and I would’ve left the theatre with tears streaming down my face muttering words like “legendary”, “iconic” and “showstopping”. Thankfully though, that’s not what she did.
Alyssa shines with star quality the moment she appears on stage. For two hours she is able to command the space, keep her audience engaged and deliver a show packed with laughs, stories, pagentry and the glitz that has become the Alyssa Edwards brand.
From her opening number dripping in Old Hollywood glam to the high energy dance and lip sync opening of Act 2, the audience whooped, hollered, screamed and snapped their way through a showcase of quintessential Ms Edwards.
The creation of Texan Justin Johnson, Alyssa takes us on a journey starting with her humble beginnings in the small town of Mesquite right up to where we see her today. In between, we are treated to tales of life as a pageant queen, her coming out story (which involved a set of questionable pictures and her grandma) and, of course, her 2 time involvement in arguably the biggest drag franchise in the world; Ru Paul’s Drag Race!
Alyssa is a diva. There is no question about that (and stories of her backstage shenanigans during All Stars 2 only adds weight to this claim) however she is also funny, warm, inviting, humble, gracious and personal. The whole evening felt more “a look through the window of the crazy world of Justin/Alyssa” than a west end show! It was a good old fashioned drag extravaganza right in the heart of London.
And no matter how many times she went off script or on a tangent, the audience stayed right beside her begging for more! There was even a short cameo from UK Drag Race queen Cheryl Hole!
I could go on for ages about how much I enjoyed the show and, while I am totally, unashamedly and with no regrets biased towards her I can also confidently say Alyssa Edwards delivered exactly what her fans love about her!
Tongue pops, diva strops, sparkle, glamour and performances clearly proving that, as she told us, she’s been turning those back rolls into bank rolls since she burst onto the international drag scene. And may her reign long continue!
I’d give the show 5 stars, but this is Alyssa Edwards hunty. She is the only star needed.
Review by Kemal Ibrahim
Alyssa, Memoirs of A Queen is on at The Vaudeville Theatre until 13th June. You can find out more and book tickets here.