> Colin Thomas

Let’s hear if for queer representation from communities of colour! And let’s acknowledge that this particular show could be a whole lot better.

In Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night!,Vancouver drag artist Davey Calderon remembers his first visit to the Philippines in 2016. He grew up in Canada, doesn’t speak Tagalog, and admits “Sometimes I feel like a Canadian alien in a Filipino bodysuit.”

Calderon’s exploration of queerness across lines of cultural identity can be moving—especially in a passage in which he describes interacting with a defiant and vulnerable bakla(queer) Filipino boy.

And, under Chris Lam’s direction, Calderon does a good job of working the space in the XY bar—sitting down at one of the tables to lead its occupants in a drinking game, for instance.

But Calderon’s drag persona Ate Dee Dee is an awkward combination of overbearing and uncertain. The night I attended, Dee Dee’s mic was way too loud. When she was singing—this is all framed as karaoke, remember—some of the notes she hit made me wince. And her show is far too long. On Thursday night, Dee Dee went over her allotted time by half an hour. That’s inconsiderate, especially at the Fringe, and there’s no excuse for it: it would be easy to cut huge chunks of this material. 

Remaining performances at XY on September 15 (3 p.m. and 7 p.m.), and 16 (2 p.m. and 6 p.m.)



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About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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