Guys in Disguise was always one of those productions I wanted to see but never seemed to get around to it. They are an Edmonton staple, having performed locally for years before bringing their show to the Fringe in 1987. This year, when a friend suggested we see Guys in Disguise: The Silver Anniversary Edition, I said an immediate yes. From the moment we entered the venue, it was clear the show has fans. The room was packed and the venue and organizers bent over backwards to ensure we had seats; even other Fringe-goers were concerned about our seating arrangements (thanks Lucky 13 et al). Five minutes before showtime, our hostess took the stage to announce last call and get the crowd energized. When the whole audience chanted along with her as she reminded us The more you drink, the better they look, I knew right then we were in for a fun night.
The opening act was the show stealer; taking a particularily squeaky-clean artist like Julie Andrews and making her sing a naughty song is full-on entertainment. On top of great comedic timing, performers Justine Tyme and Terri Stevens are especially gifted at looking the part. From their makeup and mannerisms to choreography and costumes, they transform easily into familiar pop culture icons. I’d hate to give out too many spoilers; half the fun is seeing who will appear next and roaring along with the crowd in delight as another star walks out on stage. You definitely won’t want to miss a particular Canadian songtress who really belts in out for the crowd or a certain whip-wielding impression that was so dead -on I felt like I was watching the music video.
Note: If you aren’t a fan of participation, you may want to hide in the back – the performers love to involve the crowd and certainly aren’t shy about it. Or for fun’s sake, you may want to sit in the front row and draw attention to yourself. Tyme and Stevens are up for the challenge and are sure to have a quick quip headed your way. And it’s no wonder – both possess impressive experience in theatre, film and television, with Stevens appearing in the television series Queer as Folk, and Tyme in the film Connie and Carla and the series The L Word, just to name a few.
Guys in Disguise is everything a great drag show should be: A bit campy, a little dirty and a lot of humour all tied together with great songs and gorgeous ladies with non-stop legs. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing Guys in Disguise, make this your year. Like me, you’ll wonder why the hell you waited so long to see this Fringe essential. Showtimes are listed below, but please check the Fringe website for daily updates and tickets at www.fringetheatre.ca.
• Thursday, August 23, 2012 – 6:30 pm
• Friday, August 24, 2012 – 6:30 pm
• Saturday, August 25, 2012 – 6:30 pm