News: Cast announced for queer canine cabaret Dog Show at The Pleasance this Christmas

The cast has been announced for Dog Show, a late-night canine cabaret that cocks its leg at the fetishisation of queer bodies and queer culture, co-written and co-directed by Ginger Johnson (Escape from Planet Trash, Sink the Pink; How to Catch a Krampus, Pleasance Theatre Trust) and David Cumming (Operation Mincemeat, SpitLip; Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster, BAC Beatbox Academy).

The show features stand-out performers from across the queer cabaret scene, including Rudy Jeevanjee (The Cocoa Butter Club; ‘Legend in the Making 2019’, Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival), Azara (Just Another Day and Night; Sadler’s Wells; Talawa Theatre Company) and Mahatma Khandi (Escape from Planet Trash, Sink the Pink; How to Catch a Krampus, Pleasance Theatre Trust). Together, they bring an award-winning arsenal of skills including drag, comedy, breakdancing, burlesque, rap, spoken word, lip-sync and song.

Drawing heavily from the Weimar cabaret tradition, which grew in response to increasing division in society, this show is a dog’s dinner of skits, songs, sketches, spoken word, socialism and sex. Dog Show is a love letter to all the bits of queer culture that are too dirty, drippy, complex and confrontational to be ‘accepted’ by ‘polite society.’ This is modern Queer Theatre: By Queers, For Queers. (Allies must be kept on a lead at all times wink).

Drawing on the visual language of kink to explore the idea of sexual shame and the modern fetishisation of queer culture, Dog Show unpacks the themes of freedom, control, dominance and power, all while serving up a spectacularly silly and sexy drag show.

Set amongst the flickering neon and steaming drains of what might, in another life, be old Soho, Dog Show features eye-popping set pieces designed by Ginger Johnson that give the Moulin Rouge a run for its money. The design pulls visual inspiration from all the most outrageous corners of late-night queer culture – from club kids to kinksters, and the dance floor to the darkroom. Think Leigh Bowery goes to Crufts. Dog Show features an original musical soundtrack that is just as much a mongrel as the characters themselves, with costume design from Kelli Des Jarlais and lighting design by Rachel Sampley.

It’s time for the muzzles to come off.

Co-writers and directors, David Cumming and Ginger Johnson, commented: “Fascism is on the rise, communities are being divided, and the rich just keep getting richer – so of course we’ve decided to tackle all this through the medium of a Christmas show full of sexy, silly drag dogs. Part fantastical escapism, part satirical skewer, this kinky canine cabaret is our response to an increasingly hostile world where difference is discouraged, and freedom is conditional. And after the year we’ve just had, we think we all deserve some raucous, raunchy, revolutionary fun. It’ll be the dog bollocks – we promise – maybe even literally!”

Dog Show runs from Wednesday 24 November – Sunday 19 December.

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