Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Dina Martina: Sub-Standards @ Soho Theatre…

I was straight off the plane from Porto to a dark basement nightspot. And I’ve not laughed so hard in ages. 

Last Thursday night Stuart and I went to see Dina Martina perform her new show Sub-Standards at the Soho theatre in London’s glitzy West End.

Seattle-based performer Grady West’s joyously depraved creation Dina Martina skilfully mixes performance art, clowning, drag and stand-up with a skill and wit rarely seen in the West End. 

Her voice sounds like a cat having an epileptic fit on a chalkboard, her body moves like two pigs fighting their way out of a sleeping bag, and her face looks like the collision of a cosmetics truck with a Harvester’s all-you-can-eat buffet.

Her tales are horrifying. Her outfits garish. Her personalised videos, assassinated songs and verbal tics bizarre. 

With pitch-black humour she tells us stories of extreme hoarding, disgusting pot luck contests and infinity toilets where the water reaches up to the WC’s brim. We hear of dead goldfish and an emaciated dog she finds in her home.  

This is no ordinary drag show. 

Dina’s use of sound and vision are inspired too.  Classic songs are brutalised and, in the case of Duran Duran’s “Girls On Film”, outright murdered. She contorts the lyrics to her own ends, throwing up ludicrous and possibly illegal scenarios where once only innocent words existed. 

When she needs to go off for a costume change, she pops on a reel of edited scenes from vintage movies like Gone With The Wind and It’s A Wonderful Life with her face and words inserted for comic effect. 

When she returns her costumes themselves are a carefully crafted collision of styles; one dress has a hemline under her chin while another “steampunk” concoction comes with an outer bra made of Venetian masks below the usual feathered top hat and goggles.   

She deploys language as a weapon of mass distraction. At its best, her viciously vivid imagery - her description of meatloaf adorned with “chocolate polyps” is almost enough to make vegetarians of us all - veers into perverse poetry at times. 

She retains many of the vocal mannerisms we've seen before. Her many mispronunciations (for example, Seattle is enunciated as “See-tall”, soft Gs are pronounced hard and hard Gs are soft) go from cute to grating by the time she says in her casually acerbic manner that “for a while, I must admit that I’ve been waiting… to say joodbye to you all” and tells us to “jo, jo jo” as she ushers us out into the night.    

Sub-Standards perhaps doesn’t push Martina’s career envelope to any great degree but still serves as a superb introduction to one of this century’s finest drag clowns. 

Go see.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.