Brighton Fringe 2008
Venue: Komedia 20-21st May
Festival: Brighton Fringe
If there were an award for most girlish and glamorous, funniest, mouthiest diva/icon/trannie/comedian, the inimitable Miss Coco Peru would win hands down’ L.A. Weekly
The doe -eyes of Miss Coco Peru, Los Angeles’s ‘bitchiest…drag icon’ have been staring at me from the Komedia’s May brochure for some time . When it came to finally meeting her at the Kom-med-ia (her amusing pronunciation) one can’t help but wonder, what’s all the fuss is about? Don’t get me wrong, Miss Peru is a fluent and sassy performer, but what we have here is a very traditional drag act.
The show is delivered with bravado, but the constant reinforcement of just how "fucked up" Coco Peru is made this reviewer very aware of the blurred lines between the drag persona and the performer beneath the make up. At the start of the show the audience was promised a "group therapy" session in which it was Coco’s ‘turn to talk’ and there was a recurring theme of personal struggle that permeated the show as she recounted tales from her childhood, focusing especially on being victimized in school.
However something tells me that Coco doesn’t need my or anybody else’s pity. After all Miss Peru is like a drag superhero who, with her acid tongue sets the world to rights and takes the power back from narrow-minded Americans at every turn. During the course of the show, in the midst of diatribes against air travel, noisy parents and Disney, Coco breezed through some lightly parodied show tunes and camp classics. Her rich voice proved to be more than up to the challenge.
With other drag artists (such as Christopher Green whose creations Ida Barr and Tina C have been delighting the Udderbelly this week) pushing the form in different directions, one wonders where a dame of tradition like Miss Coco Peru fits in? The rapturous response that she received from the largely gay and lesbian audience answers this question fittingly. This celebration of being a ‘survivor’ delivered with gusto and an acerbic wit is nothing if not empowering. So while Miss Peru may stay within a drag comfort zone, thankfully this zone has a lot of sequins to keep you entertained.