Having attended dRag Walk twice before, I thought I knew what to expect. Now in its sixth season, I couldn’t help but wonder if the format was getting old, as thoughts of collective Ru Paul fatigue lingered in the back of my head. As the show started however, I realised I had little to be worried about. For a start, the dRag walk hosts, Vladamir Put-it-in and Pret-à-minge were on stellar form: the combination of authoritative Russian sass and Geordie gags carried the show from challenge to challenge in accent-induced bliss.
The format for the night followed previous years, with the all familiar reading challenge, lip syncs and costume challenge once again pleasing the crowd. While the format was recognisable, it was the contestants themselves who reminded the audience that this was a very St Andrews affair. The array of drag names displayed a cultured yet playful flair: Georgia O’Queef, Oscar Gone Wilde and Agave Maria being personal favourites. Yet due to the timings of the event, it didn’t take long for contestants to sashay their way out of the competition.
Despite a strong performance in the reading challenge, contestant Al Luring didn’t make it past the first round. Reflecting on his performance, he told The Stand: “Witnessing everyone celebrate queer culture in all its forms made me feel so grateful to witness and participate in the most fabulous night that has happened in 601 yet!”.
The emphasis on celebrating queer culture was especially clear during the intermission acts. In previous years, it felt like the intermission was a lull in the show, as everyone descended en masse towards the bar to grab another purple pablo. Organisers had previously promised a fresh emphasis on intermission performances and they did not let the audience down. Performances were politically relevant (think Theresa-May inspired lip-sync to Mercy by Duffy), historically engaging (Ru Jazzle’s depiction of the Stonewall riots) and expertly choreographed (‘The Boys’ showing some of the slickest moves I’ve seen on a catwalk for some time).
Despite the clear amount of work that had gone into the event, I couldn’t help but notice that it seemed less well-attended than in previous years and this may have had something to do with the event clashing with the nearby DRA ball. Despite the lower crowds, the audience managed to scream the roof down as they cheered for Amy Crackhouse to eventually be crowned their winner.
As the night transitioned into an afterparty DJ’d by Marcus Cork-Keeling, I danced the night away reflecting on how refreshing it was to attend such a diverse, truly inclusive event in St Andrews, all for the princely sum of £8!
Audience member Lorraine Callaghan agreed, saying: “It reminded me once again that Saints LGBT + not only talk about inclusivity but make it happen”.
It is clear that dRag walk has secured its place in the St Andrews event calendar, building up a loyal following of fans, and showcasing queer culture on our doorstep. Season seven? Where do I sign up…?