Dickie Beau – Blackouts: Twilight of the Idols
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'Blackouts' returns as part of SACRED festival of performance at Chelsea Theatre, November 2015
This is the drag show at the end of the world. Radically yet faithfully engaging the form's classical tropes – tragic female icons of vanity, self-sufficiency, beauty and despair – Dickie Beau distills and compresses them into something sharp and glittering, yearning and forlorn, as compelling and fantastical as gender or a dream. Given unique access to one of Marilyn Monroe's final interviews and drawing on Judy Garland's tape recordings in anticipation of a memoir she never wrote, he lip-synchs to the spoken words with uncanny, expressive precision, exploring fame, exile, narcissism, despair and humanity. Beau's idols are boiled down to a couple of signifiers – Marilyn's blonde wave and halterneck, Judy's pigtails and basket – added to a consistent Crawfordy-Pierrot visage hinting at a common denominator of sadness in the service of entertainment shared by Piaf, Marlene, Britney and Amy Winehouse. Found sound has never seemed so revelatory.