Dickie Beau: Lost in Trans

Dickie Beau returns once again to Contact Theatre Manchester after his sell-out and highly acclaimed show in November last year, Blackouts: Twilight of The Idols.

Dickie Beau, winner of The Best Alternative Performer at The 2012 London Cabaret Awards, is essentially a drag cabaret artist, although this label does not begin to describe his unique and avant garde performance style. Preferring to describe himself as a Drag Fabulist or a Drag Clown – he uses many different performance traditions to present his stories to his audience.

Dickie Beaus queer-feminist Lost in Trans takes most its inspiration from The Latin Narrative Poem Metamorphoses by Ovid. And rather like the academics who have struggled to place Metamorphoses into a suitable genre – theatre critics have also struggled in trying to describe Dickie Beau’s performance style. He draws on clowning, classical theatre, vaudeville, dance, mime and drag and then immerses it in multimedia – using found sound and film projection- giving a theatrical experience a cinematic edge.

The set for Lost in Trans is minimal but effective, with gauze running the length of the stage, serving as a screen for the impressive, animated film projections and also to contain Beaus shadowy and melancholic world behind. The lighting design by Martin Langthorne is particularly pleasing in managing to create a dark and haunting atmosphere. The sound is well manipulated and technically faultless as are all of the film projections. A white faced commedia dellarte style Dickie Beau, gives a compelling and expressive performance, depicting eight different characters. Lost in Trans succeeds in delighting and disturbing its audience in equal measure.

Dickie Beau is clearly a very versatile and powerful performer, his use of film, found sound and accurately lip synched dialogue is clever and well-honed. I feel uneasy simply describing him as a drag cabaret artist as he offers something much more profound and exquisite – though dont just take my word for it – go and see for yourselves!

– Kristy Stott