Words by Martha Hughes
As a long-time follower of the Ru Paul’s Drag Race brand, the prospect of attending Werq the World at Cardiff Millennium Centre was an exciting one. This tour has been a global success, and with Cardiff being the last stop on this rotation, the cast was clearly looking to impress for one last time.
Hosted by Season 10’s Asia O’ Hara, the show’s intergalactic theme saw each queen being assigned their own planet. The Cardiff leg of the tour featured Naomi Smalls, Monet X Change, Kim Chi, Detox, Kameron Michaels, Aquaria and Violet Chachki.
The show started with a bang as we met each queen one by one, accompanied by several extremely acrobatic male and female back-up dancers.
Naomi Smalls began the show with an impressive number, showing off her amazing flexibility whilst still keeping true to her high-fashion reputation. Monet X Change also brought plenty of laughs with her first performance, which included a pussycat wig reveal along with a cheeky reference to her infamous sponge dress. Of course, it wouldn’t be a drag show without a little audience participation. Asia got several audience members involved with a ‘quick drag’ competition before the interval, which even included a ‘lip sync for your life’ segment, in true Drag Race fashion. This seemed to keep everyone entertained and laughing through till the interval.
Kim Chi opened the second part of the show with a passionate ballad. Forget mere wig reveals, Kim reveals several men from under the skirts of her dress which had the audience gasping and applauding with delight. Detox, one of the most experienced queens of the show, followed with a polished lip sync performance that left the crowd screaming for more. Kameron Michaels was next on stage; her performance was one of the most energetic of the evening and she even stopped afterwards to have a quick chat with the adoring audience. A hard act to follow, Aquaria (the most recent queen to be crowned ‘America’s next drag superstar) came to the stage with a glamorous and performance. Her rendition of Lady Gaga’s track Venus was well delivered and received. Finally, it was Violet Chacki’s turn to entertain; as a winner from a season several years back, I was unsure as to what she would bring to the show. However, the classic reveal of her incredibly cinched waist still left the audience impressed as she and two male dancers gave an acrobatic performance.
The closing numbers of the show saw all the queens and dancers take to the stage to reveal dazzling gold costumes as they sang and danced along to several Ru Paul numbers such as Sissy That Walk and Covergirl, absolute classics and favourites for any fan.
While some of the performances were not entirely ‘out of this world’, their passion and dedication to their art still shone through, ensuring the performances were still entertaining. The crowd at drag events are always so energetic and positive that this energy will quickly rub off onto even the most sceptic attendees. Werq the World is a high-quality show and it is clear that a lot of time, thought and effort has gone into the costumes, choreography and visuals.