- Arusa Qureshi
- 12 August 2018
Musical parody strongly tackles gender fluidity
Prom Kween is a High School Musical spoof with a difference, employing clever satirical elements to share a central message of tolerance and acceptance. Inspired by the true story of non-binary student Matthew Crisson who, in 2016, made headlines for being crowned prom queen at his high school in New York, the show is a colourful and sequinned romp through pop culture with sassy songs and plenty of glitter.
The musical numbers are both silly and smart in their structure, with the ensemble cast excellently playing a range of characters from mean girl Lexi to handsome jock Trey. But there is an important and underlying theme of otherness that connects every song and piece of narration, with four performers each taking on the role of Matthew at various points in order to emphasise gender fluidity and play with stereotypes.
The sharp criticism of society, and in particular America's bigotry and racism, is balanced well with Prom Kween's camp comedy and gentle mocking of familiar teenage tropes. With RuPaul as the story's fairy godmother figure, and 'cameos' from Cher, Ellen DeGeneres and Elton John along the way, the musical channels the magic of Drag Race, while fiercely dissecting society's need to conform.
Assembly George Square Gardens, until 26 Aug (not 13), 9.05pm, £13–£14 (£12–£13).