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THE TUCK SHOP GIRLS (article first published : 2001-02-13)

Straight from Gauteng’s Montecasino Colosseo supper club to the Playhouse Cellar comes The Tuckshop Girls. Just as Anthony Stonier’s tribute to Eartha Kitt upstairs in the Playhouse Sanlam Loft is elegant, sophisticated and cultured, so The Tuck Shop Girls is brash, over-the-top, camp in the extreme and highly outrageous!

The title takes its name from “the perfect tuck”, an expression used by drag artists for those of their ilk who have managed to “tuck” the male genitalia far away out of sight so that its positioning evades detection from the closest scrutiny by curious audience members as close as the front row.

The group is made up of “seasoned vets in the business” as the pre-publicity maintains. All “40-something”, the cast of four is led by laconic Princess Daisy (Dimitri Zouves). Aiding and a-betting her are her daughters Nella (Tony Zouridis), Helga (Hamish McLay) and Lameez (Kurt Bagus).

Barring the diminutive Lameez, the girls aren’t exactly oil paintings. Lameez is a tough act to follow. Delicate-boned, vivacious and highly attractive, she is a joy to watch and decked out in superb fabric for My African Dream could pass as a super-model. She also must be a highly skilled exponent of “the perfect tuck” because her skin-tight yellow pants positively screamed femininity in the nether regions! Added to this was elegant make-up, fluttery eyelashes and a dark curly wig. She would have fooled anyone not knowing what the show was about.

I look forward to the day when Kurt Bagus has his own show – whether in drag or not – as I am led to believe he has a good singing voice as well.

Lip-syncing to well-known and popular standards, the cast are decked out in extravagant – and often highly humorous – costumes that make much use of feathers and sequins ranging from a froth of pink tulle and rosettes to a demure outfit for Lucky Lips which revealed … well, I’ll leave that to your imagination! A complete send-up of the whole drag genre, The Tuck Shop Girls is definitely not a subtle show. Nor is it for those of a sexually sensitive nature!

The stage is attractively decorated with large feathered masks and there are few props, among them a blow-up –and extremely well-endowed – rubber doll and a supermarket trolley pushed by a demented Piaf for Je Ne Regrette Rien. Other take-offs are Barbra Streisand who has a singing match with Celine Dion, a short-sighted Nana Mouskouri and an energetic John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John duet. No show of this nature would be complete without a rendering of I Am What I Am and It's Raining Men.

The three-course meal includes a choice of Field Mushrooms (with blue cheese and port wine sauce) or a light creamy Vichyssoise followed by Medallions of Lamb (very succulent) or Chicken Tropicale, both served with a medley of vegetables. For dessert there’s Bread and Butter pudding or my choice of a delicious Caramelised Pineapple. A vegetarian dish is available on request.

The show runs Wednesdays to Sundays. There are special low-priced performances on Fridays at 17h15 and Sunday at 18h00. Book through Ticketweb or Dial-A-Seat on (031) 369-9444.




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