On 20th May, Chennai witnessed its first ever drag show – The Gabrielle Show. Organized by Jabez Kelly, whose alter ego Gabrielle Jabez Kelly was the star of the show. Gabrielle has been doing drag since January this year, and has since taken to it full-time. The show saw three drag artists take the stage with performances of song and dance, and a whole lot of insult comedy.
Insult comedy is a staple of contemporary drag shows, and The Gabrielle Show was no different. The audience members filled out ‘Roast Me Momma’ forms where they included details about themselves like their age, their sexualities and “a few other cheeky details”, as this article reports. The performers used these details to relentlessly tease the audience. The point of the show, Gabrielle said, was for people not to get offended by “every damn thing”!
The show started with a monologue by Gabrielle, and a few songs. Then came Fatty Bao and Roxie L Marquez, both of whom were first time drag performers, who performed spoken word poetry and dance performances that spoke about gender fluidity and self-acceptance.
Gabrielle insists that she deliberately did not wear ‘body-shaping’ underwear or outrageous makeup, preferring instead to showcase her lovely fat paunch and natural face because beauty is overrated. Fatty Bao, the bearded queen, sees drag as a “huge, loud middle finger to society, which tells them that I will wear what I want to, and behave the way I want to. That’s my entire aesthetic too – I don’t shave, I don’t do makeup, I put on a dress and I’m here” as reported in this report by The News Minute.
Gabrielle plans to take this show to Australia, Thailand and more. We can’t wait to see more!
Here are some pictures from the show. They’ve all been clicked by Harish Manian.