Sole Survivors

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The Independent Online
What did Robinson Crusoe do with Friday on Saturday night? Spookily, that was the title of an Al Jolson song, but this urgent question remains unanswered in the musical Jolson. There are, however, any number of answers in the latest show from the evergreen Bloolips. Should you be one of the sad people languishing in ignorance of the wonder of this unique company, a list of their greatest hits may impart the flavour of their matchless appeal: Lust in Space, Slungback and Strapless, Gland Motel, Get Hur. Using vaudeville, tap routines and spectacularly silly songs, the world's best (and only) gay clown troupe defies categorisation. In an era where most drag performance is simultaneously deeply fashionable yet merely skin-deep, there is a radiant innocence about the Bloolips which transforms the oldest of jokes. Somehow they pull off the considerable feat of being political, deliriously silly and screamingly funny all at once. The latest show finds its doyenne, Bette Bourne, (still glowing from rapturous reviews for his Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest) in need of a holiday. After a plane crash they find themselves on the Island of Lost Shoes, home of the permanent wave, where pumps and slingbacks fall from the trees and people. Far too much gay theatre is a craven attempt to appear "acceptable" to "mainstream" audiences which makes Bloolips's brazen appeal to gay audiences all the more refreshing. As performer Naughty Nickers observes, "and very gorgeous it is too".

'The Island of Lost Shoes', Drill Hall, London WC1 (0171-637 8270) to 2 Dec