DENIM – Awarded Four Stars ****

Denim-Main-Image-Digital‘DENIM is an uproarious, joyful and unthreatening show that you can take absolutely anyone to and be confident that they will come out grinning’.

Lovers of fringe theatre and underground culture cannot afford to miss Vault Festival. Elaborately decorated and with a tangible buzz, this vibrant festival is a bazaar of emerging talent in the arts. DENIM is bright, brilliant show and it’s in its element in this quirky setting.

DENIM is a drag troupe formed by students at Cambridge in 2010. Glamrou, Crystal Vaginova, Electra Cute, Shirley Du Naughty and Aphrodite Greene are best friends – and a globally successful girl band playing the loud and proud queer haunts of Soho. Their opener is an irresistible mash-up of the likes of Bon Jovi, Shania Twain and Miley Cyrus. With exquisite costumes, larger-than-life wigs and flawless makeup, DENIM takes the stage by storm and the audience are instantly on side.

But DENIM has not come to Vault Festival just to have fun. Their tale is a serious one, albeit one told in the least serious way possible. Soho is being gentrified and the world is losing its safe queer spaces. So does DENIM stay on Earth to challenge gender norms and re-thread our social fabric? Na. The girls go to space.

The line-up of songs they use to tell the story of their intergalactic adventure showcases their diversity as performers. Powerful ensemble numbers with complex harmonies are interspersed with poignant solos from each of the girls. Elektra’s rendition of Hello gave Adele a run for her money and had the audience roaring their approval.

Comedy is the glue that elevates the show from a list of songs to a cohesive performance. With wide-ranging cultural references and seamless improvisation, DENIM’s unique brand of humour is breathlessly funny. There is just the right amount of affectionate audience interaction – many of us had our faces stroked but no-one was made to get up and dance.

Challenging gender stereotypes in its inimitably playful way, DENIM is an uproarious, joyful and unthreatening show that you can take absolutely anyone to and be confident that they will come out grinning. The diversity in the audience is telling – everyone can gain something from seeing this super-talented super troupe.

Review by Annabel Mellor.

Until 6th March daily at 21.30 – with a Saturday matinee at 16.15 www.vaultfestival.com @denim-uk or call 0871 220 0260
Playing at The Vaults, Leake St, Waterloo, SE1 7NN until 6th March

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