Armed with her ‘rolodex of hate’, a fabulous red frock and an audience eagerly awaiting her every word Bianca Del Rio, winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race Season 6, brought the house down at her Comedy Special at the Brisbane Powerhouse on Saturday night.
The 70 minute show opened with a hilariously narrated compilation of videos from Bianca’s childhood and teenage years that really worked to introduce her as both Ray and as Bianca Del Rio. As a virgin to the wonders of Ru Paul’s Drag Race this video really worked to give me a feel for who Bianca was, and provide a great context for some of the jokes that viewers of Ru Paul would have already been ahead on. Having seen other shows where the star relied on prior appearances I think Bianca has worked hard to make sure her material was accessible to all kinds of audience members. Bianca’s jokes were almost all received with laughter, and for the very few that weren’t Bianca made sure to make her reaction or follow up comment the butt of the joke.
A key part of the show was Bianca’s relationship with members of the audience. From Amy in the front row who kept getting a cheeky top-up from Bianca’s glass of wine and Bianca showing her rolodex cards that acted as cue cards to her jokes (which she only looked at after the said jokes were made), to the over eager audience member who seemed to be competing with everyone else to show the hilarity of Bianca’s repertoire – the audience loved her, and she loved the audience.
In what Bianca cheekily called ‘The Intermission’ Courtney Act joined Bianca on stage for a delightfully bitchy intercourse. The relationship between the two seemed to be one of genuine fondness and respect for each other’s talents – but balanced with enough witty retorts to add a delicious edge to Courtney’s guest appearance. To finish off her part of the show Courtney sat down with Bianca and delivered a song, with Bianca making amusing comment throughout. Unfortunately whoever was responsible for the sound had both the music and Courtney’s microphone too loud, making it hard to understand exactly what she was singing. But, that’s a minor quibble and no fault of hers. Courtney was as talented and beautiful as you expect.
To end the show Bianca answered questions audience members had written prior to the show. Some questions were amazing, others banal, but Bianca made them all comedic. For the final question Bianca had the guy who wrote it, Joel, come on the stage. Bianca read the question out – Joel wanted to know what he should say to his ex-boyfriend, who had also come to the show tonight with his new partner, if he saw them. Bianca asked how long they had been broken up for – Joel said, nervously, 1.5 years, and that they’d been together for 9 months. Bianca, all class, declared that Joel was going out with her that night and that all his friends could come backstage with the VIP ticket holders for a 60 minute meet-and-greet. I’m pretty sure the whole audience collectively wished they were Joel at this point. I’m sure he had an awesome night.
Bianca Del Rio was awarded with a resounding standing ovation as she said her goodbyes and swept off the stage. The whole audience – all the queens, lesbians and straights in the audience -loved her. The show was such a success in my mind that in bed that evening I had dreams of becoming a drag queen myself.