EdFringe 2021 Review: QUEENZ – The Show With Balls! ★★★★

Blending musical frivolity and high camp comic silliness with genuine heart, QUEENZ – The Show With Balls! is set to deliver your Edinburgh Festival Fringe drag fix. Performing to a lively crowd on a Friday night in Edinburgh’s Underbelly George Square, this cast of five queens deliver high energy renditions of pop classics with a sense of polish, wit and panache.

Opening with a mash-up of Whitney Houston’s Queen of the Night meets Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, the impressive vocals of the cast of QUEENZ may catch some audience members off-guard. Bursting onto the stage with fierce attitude, glistening outfits and an infectious sense of fun, our cast of Queens make it clear that audiences are headed for an evening of sing-a-long anthems, biting humour, and a warming message of self-empowerment.

Highlights include a powerhouse Spice Girls medley with hits such as Wannabe, Who Do You Think You Are? and Say You’ll Be There with the Queenz shining as the iconic girl-group’s dragged-up little sisters. From boyband to girlband, Union J heartthrob Jaymi Hensley soars in a Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend number inspired by Moulin Rouge – one of the standout moments of the show. Hensley has a real natural, sassy interaction with the crowd bringing a playful bite, whilst also excelling in the hour-long show’s numerous musical numbers.

Whilst QUEENZ is packed with uplifting pop numbers – an energetic rendition of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way and uplifting take on I’m Every Woman being further hits – there is a real versatility in the cast, highlighted by their impressive take on numerous ballads. A sensitive take on True Colours pays an elegant tribute to the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, whilst a mash-up of Sia’s Alive and The Greatest Showman’s This Is Me further highlight’s the Queens’ vocal range. A standout take on Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back to Me Now also helps QUEENZ provide musical elegance and vocal might.

A mash-up that seeks to tackle forty musical theatre songs is one moment that does feel quite rushed and chaotic. Focussing on a smaller number of songs would have a little more impact and still manage to pay tribute to the closed West End theatres like the mash-up intends to do.

Closing the show with a feisty Latin number is a great move, ending with an energetic party atmosphere through tracks like Let’s Get Loud, Shakira’s Wherever Whenever and Spice Girl’s Spice Up Your Life.

There is a real heartfelt message at the core of QUEENZ with the cast managing to convey it in a sincere and natural passion, showcasing an absolute love for their craft. Impressively managing to create a genuine party atmosphere with high energy routines, natural wit and powerhouse vocals, QUEENZ is a delight.

QUEENZ – The Show With Balls! plays until the 20th of August. Get tickets here.