Review: One night in Bangkok
The Ladyboys of Bangkok, The Apex, Tuesday June 28
The weather in Bury St Edmunds was not quite as humid as in the capital of Thailand, but the atmosphere in The Apex certainly felt hot as the Ladyboys of Bangkok took to the stage on Tuesday.
It was a year to the day since my husband and I landed in Bangkok itself, so we were keen to revisit a part of the city’s magic. And despite a slightly slow start, the Ladyboys did not disappoint.
The premise is that the cast – all male Thai nationals apparently, although I’m not convinced Trevor is not from the north of England – dance and mime to well-known tracks.
A medley of Kylie Minogue classics kicked off the first half, complete with stunning showgirl costumes, followed by a nod to Moulin Rouge (where I was disappointed there was no can-can routine).
Then ‘Shirley Bassey’ took to the stage and immediately lifted the whole show.
Unlike the other beautiful ladyboys ‘Shirley’ looked more like a ‘Shaun’, and therein lay the comic value.
Shirley gave a charismatic rendition of Big Spender before pulling up an unsuspecting male audience member for some hilarious and harmless cavorting, generating widespread laughter.
Shirley returned throughout the show for humorous performances as a beauty therapist (giving an audience member an intimate wax), an energetic Cyndi Lauper and realistic Tina Turner.
Meanwhile, the Ladyboys performed as schoolgirls, cheerleaders, a marching band and, memorably, as ancient Egyptians.
The second half saw the pace step up a gear, with Uptown Funk, the Vengaboys (remember them?) and a 60s medley getting the audience clapping.
A neon version of Nicki Minaj’s Starships saw me having bikini envy (I’m sure one of the Ladyboys looked far better in an Agent Provocateur swimsuit than when I tried it on), while the Village People got a few people up on their feet to YMCA.
By the finale of I Am What I Am - which showcased some dramatic Thai costumes – I was well and truly caught up in the moment.
True, some of the jokes fell a little flat and none of the Ladyboys would win a dance competition, but somehow it only added to the overall charm.
And judging by the audience reaction, everyone else there agreed.