Theatre Review: Death Drop (Criterion Theatre, London) ★★★★

Jujubee is standing by the stage door, taking photographs with fans and laughing. “It’s so stupid. It’s SO STUPID, but it’s FUN stupid!” She says, succinctly summing up Death Drop. Reader, this show is so dumb, it’s genius!

Category is “Drag-atha Christie”. Take the classic British murder-in-a-manor-house plot, fill the cast with drag kings and queens, and stuff the script with a cavalcade of jokes so stupid you laugh at the audacity, and you’ve got a great night out in London’s West End.

Vinegar Strokes as Lady von Fistenburg and Holly Stars as Brie Bottomley in Death Drop

Do you want plot? Okay, here’s the “plot” for what it’s worth. Welcome to Tuck Island, and the home of Lady von Fistenburg, where the Lady has invited a series of high profile guests to come and celebrate the 10th anniversary of Charles and Diana’s wedding. Among them, Conservative MP Rich Whiteman, broadcaster Morgan Pierce, filmmaker Phil Maker, washed up popstar Shazza and American weather girl Summer Raines. But why did Lady von Fistenburg really invite them all here? And what happens when the only bridge to the island is cut off in a dreadful storm? And how is Holly Stars going to be able to play the role of the identical triplets, the Bottomley Sisters? And why is there a ninja in Act Two?!

Sounds daft? Damn right it is. Death Drop has the same “Big Tuck Energy” as London’s annual gay pantomimes at the Above The Stag theatre. The innuendo is so obvious it would be an insult to call them double entendres; can you just say ‘single entendre’? “Lord von Fistenberg treated me to a big shiny pearl necklace” exclaims the Lady to no one’s surprise, but everyone’s raucous laughter.

The show has cycled through a few casts before landing at its new home, the Criterion Theatre on Piccadilly Circus, and it is well-designed to move celebrity casts through it like it was a production of Chicago. A core troupe of performers hold the show together while the main featured roles of Summer Raines (currently being played by Jujubee) and Shazza (UK Drag Race’s Kitty Scott-Claus) get most of the action. Previous casts have included Drag Race alum Courtney Act, Monét X Change, Willam, and Latrice Royale.

Vinegar Strokes as Lady von Fistenburg and Holly Stars as Brie Bottomley in Death Drop

The real star of the show though is Holly Stars who not only produced a hilarious script for everyone to play off, but handles the triple-role of the Bottomley Sisters, bringing a British dry wit and physical comedy skills to the proceedings. While the kings and queens around her are turning the volume up to 11, she is stealing the scene with a sly look. 

If watching drag queens vomit, getting their hands chopped off, putting on stupid accents and constantly breaking the fourth wall is your thing (and let’s face it, isn’t that everyone’s thing?!), then throw back some cheap Savignon Blanc and get down to see Death Drop. It’s bold, it’s queer, and it’s incredibly stupid!

By Chad Armstrong

Death Drop runs at London’s Criterion Theatre until April 24th 2022. Click here for more details and tickets.

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