EdFringe 2023 Review: Baga Chipz: Material Girl ★★★

“Baga is a force to be reckoned with and those willing to embrace some scrappy, crude cabaret should leave with a smile on their face.”

We all know “Baga Chipz is stunning, Baga Chipz is class, Baga Chipz is sexy…” but can Baga Chipz put on a Fringe show? The RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and Drag Race UK vs. The World found success thanks to her adoration of hun culture, her sharp impressions, and delightfully crude humour, elements which she incorporates into her Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut, Baga Chipz: Material Girl.

Taking something of an unscripted approach, Baga arrives on the Gilded Balloon Teviot Debating Hall stage to deliver a selection of live musical numbers, audience interaction, impressions and anecdotes for a packed crowd. Expect the lines which made Baga a much-loved figure of the drag scene including some “Very very ‘arshs” and references to “Daddy’s sauce.”

Arriving on stage after a video of the drag star causing havoc around the Edinburgh Fringe’s Bristo Square area is played, Baga appears delivering a version of Madonna’s Material Girl accompanied by her two backing dancers, Salt and Pepper. The star is quick is point out her white female dancer is Pepper and black male dancer is Salt, before the audience attempt to cancel her. The levels of camp are at stratospheric heights from the onset as the cabaret star dons a polished blonde wig and hot pink dress complete with a bow at the back.

Baga is quick to find out what type of audience is in the house, before launching into expected patter about bottoms, lesbians and straight people. It’s expectedly crude, but well-intentioned interactions that Baga can get away with thanks to her natural charisma and charm. Anecdotes of Baga being flashed on public transport, nights out with fellow Drag Race stars Lawrence Chaney and The Vivienne, and Baga’s extended Chipz family make up many of the gags scattered between the musical performances. Impressions of Margaret Thatcher and Kathy Bates’s Misery villainess Annie Wilkes are sporadically dropped in for some laughs. Baga’s musings are generally off-the-cuff and seem largely unprepared, with the star even remarking she’ll often turn up with a selection of wigs and little else – yet she can sustain our interest for an hour with this scrappy charm offensive.

Some outfit changes lead to crowd-pleasing musical performances including a vocally impressive take on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black preceded by a video of Winehouse’s most iconic moments. Later performances of Frock Destroyers’ hit Break Up (Bye Bye) and Baga’s spin on Aqua, Ba’bie Girl keep energy levels high and showcase Baga as a solid cabaret star – even if she does share the inspiration behind one of her looks was Eastenders‘ Sharon.

Regular demands for jägerbombs ensure Baga is having a good time and the consistent laughter from the audience seems to show this is mutual. Although it could benefit from a little more polishing and structure, Baga is a force to be reckoned with and those willing to embrace some scrappy, crude cabaret should leave with a smile on their face.

Baga Chipz: Material Girl runs until Wednesday 9th of August. Buy tickets here.

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