This production of The Ruby Slippers was originally part of Liverpool’s Pride celebrations in 2018. It has been released for streaming until midnight on Sunday 26th April.

The Ruby Slippers is a drag club in Blackpool, under threat from a new rival club. Owner Raz is losing drag acts and prepares to do a turn himself. Will his remaining two drag queens, double act Destiny and Phoenix, stay at the club or can they be tempted to leave. With a supermarket offering to buy the club Raz doesn’t need anything else to add to his problems. However, his roommate and barman Ryan has a secret that could change everything.

Written by Emma Culshaw and David Paul, this dramatic comedy touches on many aspects faced by the LGBTQ+ community, each are handled with sensitivity and care. The characters all have a history that shapes them and adds depth. The story balances humour and frivolity with the deeper issues and moments of intensity.

The conflicted owner Raz is played by James Rogerson, his character has a full range of emotions to go through and he portrays each one with feeling. Equally conflicted, but for different reasons is Ryan (Kurtis Stacey) Stacey shows the vulnerability, torment and eventual confidence that this role needs. Helen, Ryan’s mum, has the shows touching and most heartfelt moments which Debra Redcliffe delivers perfectly. Adding some glitz to proceedings are Destiny and Phoenix (Owen Richard Farrow and Jordan Simms) Farrow showed a Drag queen with heart and understanding beneath a showy exterior. Both queens displayed some great moves and lip synching which added flair the play.

This play showed the hidden workings and struggles of a drag bar and its staff. Full of the expected innuendos and fun, but also full of story and meaning. Originally performed in a studio space where the audience sat as if they were visitors to the club, some of the atmosphere is sadly lost by watching it in your living room. I can imagine everything feels more involved in its original intimate setting.

For something a little different, with fun and emotion for an adult audience, this would be a good choice for an evening’s entertainment and escape. Watch HERE for free until midnight on Sunday 26th April

Reviewer: Annette Nuttall

Reviewed}: 24th April 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★