The Legend of Georgia McBride

I had intended to see Honest Pint Theatre Company’s production of The Legend of Georgia McBride on Friday, but a mixture of hailstorms, fear of driving at night in the rain, social anxiety, and quality HBO programming kept me home.

So I decided to catch the matinee two days later.

It was a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon, and my whole body was sore from 31 years of existence on planet earth. I laid around the house, watching Barry on HBO Go until about 12:30. Then I found myself scrambling to get ready to drive to downtown Raleigh for a show.

I’m glad I made it on time, because the show was almost sold-out! I paid for my ticket and took my seat. Since I attended on my own, I passed the time tapping my toes to the pre-show music while reading over a monologue from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

The stage was split into three parts. On stage right, was a small apartment with a cozy loveseat, tiny fridge and coffee pot. On stage left was a generous dressing room. I say generous because in my experience, a bar’s dressing room is a closet, dimly lit by fairy lights that provide just enough illumination to make the glitter-strewn floor sparkle. Down the centre of the stage was a runway lined with lightbulbs and backed with a curtain of sparkling silver streamers. Above this runway was a quaint hand-painted sign which read “Cleo’s” (which later in the play, became a fabulous rainbow light-show of a sign in a modern font).

Even more impressive than the set design was the acting.

As a trained actor, I sometimes find theatrical performances difficult to watch, as I disagree with choices made. However, this show was one of the most honest I’d seen in a long time. Actors listened to each other and responded accordingly in such a way that it almost felt like improv.

There was no interval, but toward the middle of the show, was a drag performance where the main characters performed about three numbers each. I never expected to spend my Sunday afternoon at a drag show. I am a frequenter of Friday and Saturday night drag shows, and have performed as a drag king a few times myself. So I know good drag when I see it. And I saw it during The Legend of Georgia McBride. I didn’t get a chance to look at the digital playbill (I don’t think I have a QR reader on my phone), but I still find myself wondering if they had hired actors or actual drag queens for this show. 

Furthermore, the subject matter moved me. I had never seen or read the play before. I knew it would feature drag, but I didn’t expect it to present it in the way that it did. No spoilers, but I was pleased to see representation on stage of healthy relationships, gender identities, and sexual orientations. I found myself near tears more than once as characters explored gender and sexuality.

Standing ovation well deserved.

One of the best experiences I’ve had at the theatre in a long time.

I can’t wait to see more from the Honest Pint Theatre Co. I hope I get the chance to play with them soon.

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