Leggy Lilly still reigns supreme

Lilly Slaptsilli in one of her outfits for Shenanigans, in Durban until Sunday.

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STAGE: Lilly Slaptsilli in Shenanigans – Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel, 14 Beryldene Road, Kloof
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
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CAN it really be a full seven years since Cape Town’s darling Lilly was last frocking around in Durban? Believe it or not, yes!

The good news is that this sexy, sassy drag queen icon – formerly one half of hit drag duo Mince, and a word-perfect lip-sync lassy with legs for which any woman would give gold –  is not only back in town, but already planning her next visit.

Yep, Shenanigans, the first solo show by Lilly Slaptsilli (alias Clive Allardyce), will be seen again in Durban early in the new year at the Umbilo branch of the Rhumbelow Theatre. Yay!

At the moment, though, it is being presented at the Kloof branch of the theatre franchise, at Tina’s Hotel, where I am told it is already sold out tonight and tomorrow (June 14 and 15), and has final performances at 8pm on Saturday (June 16) and 2pm on Sunday (June 17).

First staged in Hermanus in the Cape, Shenanigans is a fun mix of camp outrageousness, fast wig and costume changes, naughty (and nice) song choices, some stand-up comedy and plenty of nudging and winking.

Lilly, in a parade of glittering get-ups, varied wigs and killer stilletos, delivers a mix of her old favourite lip-sync routines as well as newer routines. And it’s a right royal treat!

Allowing for costume and wig changes is hilarious video footage, beamed on to a large screen suspended to one side of the stage. This well-produced footage has Lilly, in various disguises and speaking in various accents, briefly depicting everything from a kugel, to a ‘platteland meisie’, to a nine-year-old with a yukky magic trick. My favourite is the online dating service client who has Tourette Syndrome and breaks into foul language while trying to record a video message to find a beau.

Clive Allerdyce as Lilly Slaptsilli… queen of the lip-sync genre.

Five of my all-time fave moments from Lilly are in Shenanigans – numbers I first enjoyed when she performed with Keiron Legacy, as Mince, and packed them in at the now-defunct Lango’s Supper Theatre in Durban North.

One is the lip-sync to Lisa Koch’s very funny Middle Aged Woman, about a singer-guitarist lamenting her lot in life; another is a spot-on delivery of Carol Burnett’s Little Girls from the film version of Annie.

The third is a Motown hits medley with Lilly in long, red frock and Afro wig, with glove puppets as her back-up singers. The fourth is a terrific lip-sync to Tina Turner’s Proud Mary, with the Tina mannerisms, wild wig and fringed mini all down pat.

Then there’s the slinky lip-sync to Ruth Brown’s If I Can’t Sell It, I’ll Sit On It (also known as The Chair Song), which is a delight, laden with innuendo.

I have to say I missed other favourites, among them Lilly’s hilarious send-up of Liza Minnelli, set to a lyrically reworked version of the Judy Garland hit, Johnny One Note. I was also disappointed that the programme left out the lip-sync to Ella Fitzgerald’s seven-minute scat through High How the Moon, and the wonderful, Goldie Hawn version of A Hard Day’s Night, which Lilly makes quite naughty. Let’s hope they are in Lilly’s next solo show.

However, there are other treasures in Lilly’s chest here… not least a superb, lengthy talk-sketch which has Lilly as an air hostess, Pam Ann. Not an easy lip-sync, but handled with flair and a keen sense of comic timing by this queen of the genre.

Mother grundies be warned – there is much that is risque, not least the lip-syncs to the bluesy Everybody’s F….g But Me by Australian Geraldine Turner and Jackie Beat’s parody of the Peggy Lee classic Fever, here titled I Want a Beaver.

If you enjoy lip-sync well done, and drag that is a good cut above the average, you’d be crazy to miss Miss Lilly.

Book now by phoning Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636. Tickets cost R150 each.

 


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