DRAGGING 30 – don’t be a drag, just be a queen!

I wish somebody had told me how eye-opening life is in one’s third decade, that you really will become a truer version of yourself and care more about what you think of yourself than what others think of you. But I probably wouldn’t have listened, unless it was Oprah! Well, Dragging 30 is a comedy-cabaret show that celebrates the dirty 30’s. It stars and was co-written by Genna Galloway and Natasha Van Der Merwe with Alan Fleischmann and is billed as a coming-of-age explosion of music and laughs. There certainly is much of both as we watch the two single women Genna and Natasha come to terms with life post-30 together and later with the help of a fabulous drag queen Cadenza Jones. Read about how the show came about here.

We meet Genna after her move from Cape Town to Joburg for work that falls through and a relationship which did the same (that sounds like exactly where I was just before 30!). Natasha is her neighbour, a blogger and writer who works from home (again with the parallels) and deals with parental judgement. They take a short journey of self-discovery with lots of banter and enlist the help of a drag queen to school them in all things fab.


The scenes which I felt worked the best were those that delved deeper than the surface and gave us a clearer glimpse into the characters’ internal lives rather than the fluffy, banter-filled soundbites. It was easier to connect to the characters when I felt that honesty from the actors’ connection to the experiences they’ve written about. Some of my favourite moments then were ones where the emotional reactions brought out the comedy rather than trying it the other way around – new neighbours being unceremoniously introduced to each other’s madness; the unfortunate bikram yoga deception; Cadenza Jones singing with such pathos about the fabulous and lonely life of a drag queen; that voicemail from the ex.

I have no doubt it’s all based on real-life relationship encounters and so many people could relate to so much on the night! So I’d love to see the writers (and actors and producers because they’re all the same talented bunch) flesh out the characters more. There’s certainly room to extend the show time-wise – there’s so much story to tell and it felt a tad short.

FLTR Genna Galloway, Alain Fleischman, Natasha Van Der Merwe
FLTR Genna Galloway as Genna, Alain Fleischman as Cadenza Jones, Natasha Van Der Merwe as Natasha.

Dragging 30 will be running at A&G Theatre on the Square until 26 March so grab a couple of your GF’s, GBF’s and a couple of drinks to boot for some fun! Shows are Tuesday – Friday @ 20:15, Saturday @ 18:00 and 20:30. Further info and bookings here. Bookings can be made by calling the Auto & General Theatre on the Square on 011 883-8606, Strictly Tickets on 082 553 5901 or www.strictlytickets.com .

In other news, this was the first time I’ve seen a cellphone being thrown onto stage from the auditorium in the middle of a scene! Apparently an annoyed audience member took issue with another audience member who continued to use their cellphone to record parts of the show and upload said videos to Facebook. That’s what I heard after the fact because the show went on almost seamlessly – the tall drag queen simply nudged the phone under the side-table with her glittered heels as she minced upstage. Nancy for offstage drama!

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