Review: “A long way from being a hit” ★★ Miss Meena and the Masala Queens, Greenwich Theatre

With the increasing recognition of the smash hit television show RuPaul’s Drag Race, the art of drag has become part of popular culture more than ever before. In a world of drudgery and disappointment, the art form offers an escape, not only for people who are part of the LGBT community, but for those who need some positives in a world filled with negativity.

For gay men from Asian families, drag offers a refuge and Harvey Virdi’s play attempts to expose the need for a change in perceptions and the importance of acceptance in all facets of society.

Miss Meena (Raj Ghatak) has hit hard times since the death of her partner and her drag club is going to the dogs. With dodgy businessmen and a conniving Queen trying to force her out, her only sanctuary comes in the form of wannabe drag diva Shaan (Nicholas Prasad).

Unfortunately, Pravesh Kumar’s production lacks any of the glamour needed to establish this as a credible drag world and with terrible wigs, bizarre musical interludes and some dreadful set changes, it feels like a tragically amateur endeavor.

The script is filled with clichés and any hope of examining the important story is lost after the first few lines, when you realise the subject is being trivialised rather than explored.

This could all be forgiven if we were at least treated to some fabulously camp lip-sync numbers, but apart from during the finale, there aren’t any of those either, just a couple of poorly executed Bollywood scenes.

The potential of this play is huge and the message it’s trying to convey is an important one, which makes this presentation all the more disappointing.

It could be saved by some rewrites and the addition of more music, but this show is a long way from being a hit.

Miss Meena and the Masala Queens is at Greenwich Theatre until 27 May

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