Ginger Johnson and Friends, Pleasance Theatre

Ginger Johnson – Boyz

by Zahid Fayyaz

Something I had been looking forward to for a while now was the return of cabaret to the stage after lockdown’s easing. This event is an excellent way to restart this particular art form live and in-person. The wonderful evening at the Pleasance was curated by Newcastle’s Ginger Johnson, an associate artist at the theatre and member of Sink the Pink, an LGBTQ+ collective and club night.

Johnson performs first, and does an excellent job of hosting the evening along with her stories and stand-up routines. Two particular highlights include her ‘top ten places to have a cry’ and an agony aunt sketch. The songs are both witty and catchy as well, using call and response in some instances. After more than expertly warming up the expectant audience, the first act of the evening was Cheryl Dole, a joy. The northern drag artist mixes excellent lip syncing with spoken word poetry to strong effect. Especially good is the Medea tribute, which is certainly a surprise at a cabaret evening. She bookends the event superbly.

Then comes a turn from Evelyn Carnate, a regular burlesque performer. She has two routines in the show, both equally captivating and fascinating and stand out from the other acts on the bill. The final performer is Midgitte Bardot with an amazingly punk song containing much screaming and floor hugging. It is certainly something unexpected, but it is visually and sonically wonderful. All in all, this is an amazingly fun Friday evening out, and the first of many as we – hopefully – open up further.

Ginger Johnson and Friends ran through 6 June.

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