Jinx Monsoon and Major Scales in Ginger Snapped
As I entered the Leicester Square Theatre ready to embark on the Jinkx Monsoon journey, I was immediately struck with how fabulous the setting was. Intimate, stylish and the perfect space to house this cabaret style showcase of Miss Monsoon and long-time friend Major Scales’ new album The Ginger Snapped (available on iTunes & Spotify).
Rupaul’s Drag Race fans will know Jinkx as the worthy winner of season 5 back in 2013. Up against the likes of Alaska, Alyssa Edwards & Detox, the Seattle based queen won the hearts of the fandom with her unassuming personality, sharp comedic wit and fabulous drag skills. I was excited to see how she’d had grown in the years since.
As the show begins, Major Scales rushes onto the stage, anxious and on edge, to explain that Jinkx may not be in the best of moods. It was his job to ensure all was prepared prior to the divas big entrance and the outbreak of laughter from the audience, as he filled a tall glass with neat Vodka and double checked her prescription pills, was the start to an evening of fast paced comedy, entertainment and cleverly composed music.
The premise of the show was quickly established when Major suggested that, considering Jinkx’s dependency on drugs and alcohol as well as her tendency to throw diva like tantrums (where the constant threat of violence left him cowering in a corner), she might just benefit from a therapy session to explore the cause of the problem. Major would act as both pianist and therapist to assist the Manic Miss Monsoon; who reluctantly agrees after downing several mouthfuls of her favourite tipple.
With the back story in place, the show began to take shape. We were treated to original songs from the new album (Jinkx lead vocals assisted by Major’s talented keyboard skills and backing vocals) alongside stories and anecdotes covering the life of ‘Jinkx Monsoon – Drag Race Winner’ and the darker side of her drag fame!
From the moment she opens her mouth to sing, it’s obvious her talent doesn’t just lie in the world of drag! Coming from a culture where lip syncing isn’t uncommon, if not the norm, I’m here to tell you Jinkx can sing! And I don’t just mean sing, I mean saaang! Blending her powerful vocals with comedic and informative lyrics (accompanied by a backdrop of videos and pictures to add to the visuals) we journeyed through an array of emotions from belly laughing through the fabulous She Evil (with thanks to shady commentary from Bianca Del Rio) to the sultry Just Me (The Gender Binary Blues) which produced my favourite line of the evening “I’m not either/or, what a bore, I’m just me”!
Amidst the vocal slayage, her wit was still evident with laughter educing moments of breaking the forth wall by spraying the audience with ‘Vodka’ at the mere mention of the Del Rio name and unashamedly condemning British television to the scrap heap.
There were also moments of real & thought inducing issues facing the LGBTQIA communities across the world with Jinkx calling out Russia & Brazil for the oppression faced by their queer citizens. These moments were met by cheers and cry’s of “yes” from audience members as the reality of her words took hold. Like a true and seasoned professional however, it wasn’t long before she had us laughing once again.
The only negative for me is, and it must be said this is simply a personal preference to which Miss Monsoon has no reason to cater to, I’d like to have felt I’d gotten to know the real Jinkx amongst the comedy and music. The show was scripted and, at times, felt that way. As an audience member and fan there were moments where I’d wished the ‘story’ had been left to one side and I felt connected with the artist. Jinkx herself made it clear in the beginning by cheekily informing us “this is a scripted show and you don’t have any lines” and, while it never took away from the talent on show, I left wishing the whole evening had been a little more personal.
Having said that, an encounter with Jinkx the day after her show satisfied this need and showed me she was what I had suspected from the very start. Unbelievably sweet, kind hearted and a hard-working artist who loves to entertain. Her character during this show was a stressed-out diva who was on the edge of exploding but, as Jinkx herself told me, “as much of a badass as I try to be, I still never want to upset anybody”.
And that is the core of the Jinkx Monsoon I and her fans have come to love! A queen who inspires and deserves continued success.
The Ginger Snapped is playing until Saturday 23rd March so grab a ticket while you can!
Review by Kemal Ibrahim