The VAULT Festival is a very cool venue, hidden away from the main road with a graffiti covered entrance that leads to a cavernous labyrinth of bars and stages. Yeah it’s a little damp, but if I had to sit and wait for the legionnaire’s to set in I’d rather do it whilst watching Prom Kween.
Prom Kween is a work in progress – or werk in progress – so it’s a little rough around the edges but it’s all clicking into place with great songs, Paris is Burning slang and self-aware asides. The musical comedy was inspired by a non-binary high school student, Matthew, who ran for and won the title of Prom Queen at their high school.
When I walked in to the tune of It’s Raining Men and had glitter dabbed on my cheek I worried that this was going to just be another show that reduced camp gay men to sassy gay sidekick/pets. But by the time the cast got to define what non-binary was in one neat line I knew this was a show that know it’s LGBT from its Q. Which is more unusual than you might like to think in 2017.
This irreverent musical is more than a nod to the classic high school film, with clever references to Grease, Mean Girls and others. I have said this a million times, but I still think comedy is the perfect medium for getting a serious point across. What could have been an exhaustingly didactic production is instead a fun and lovingly created musical comedy using a device that makes us realise ‘we are all Matthew’ and gets the message across that people are living in fear because of their sexual identity. When I wasn’t laughing I was pretty near to tears, and I have a heart of stone.
Last night was the final outing for Prom Kween at the VAULT Festival but I have no doubt Prom Kween is going to slay the comedy scene.