Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023 Theatre Review: The Kinsey Sicks – Drag Queen Storytime Gone Wild! (Gilded Balloon) ★★★

These are the drag queens that you were warned about! Join Angel, Trampolina, Trixie and Winnie for this irreverent romp that showcases superb songs and camp charm.

Nathan Marken, Spencer Brown, Jeff Manabat and J.B. McLendon in The Kinsey Sicks: Drag Queen Storytime Gone Wild! Photo credit: Lois Tema.

Returning to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe after a five year hiatus, the Kinsey Sicks are back with a vengeance. Setting the show in the Conservative Christian Ron DeSantis elementary school, the cast attempt to get through the performance without saying the word “gay” or talking about queer topics (or existence). Mercifully they fail!

Often billed as America’s Favourite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, The Kinsey Sicks are undeniably gifted vocalists. The harmonies are tight, and the lyrics outrageous – no Disney tune, nursey rhyme or pop song is safe from their wicked touch. While they are supposedly warning of the dangers of drag queens and sexual deviance, they slip in songs about the NRA, Trump and the Gay Agenda.

The Kinsey Sicks. Photo credit: Lois Tema.

With show-stopping numbers such as Trampolina’s MAGA version of Poor Unfortunate Souls, and the memorable Poof the Magic Drag Queen, it is a shame that the political commentary often does not go far enough in the scripted segues. Despite pithy observations about Edinburgh’s Jewish food desert – leading into a Sesame Street parody – the links feel a little laboured at times, and could certainly do with more pace.

At a time where drag, and LGBTQ+ performers in general, are under threat, this is the kind of show the world needs right now. With witty, dirty lyrics and more than a twinkle in the eye, a night with the Kinsey Sicks is a treat for the ears and a whole lot of fun.

By Deborah Klayman

The Kinsey Sicks: Drag Queen Storytime Gone Wild! plays at Gilded Balloon at the Museum, Edinburgh until 27th August 2023.

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