Fringe 2019 Review: ‘The Complete History of Drag in a Few Mo-mo’
History books are full of the deeds of kings, but the accomplishments of queens have been systematically erased, so Los Angeles-based writer/performer David LeBarron is providing a much-needed corrective with his fabulously fierce Complete History of Drag in A Few Mo-mo. Towering over the stage in dapper tie and suspenders, he begins by apologizing for his title sounding like a freshman queer studies syllabus, and self-consciously quotes Tennessee Williams stage directions, before ushering us backstage at an unglamorous drag club where he metamorphosizes into “Auntie Luscious.”
For the bulk of this “future memory play,” LeBarron inhabits a dying drag queen who educates a newbie about their tribe’s tragic past while awaiting her final turn to strut onstage. She name-checks a laundry list of key cross-dressers, from household names like Oscar Wilde and Quentin Crisp to obscure East Village performance artists, while highlighting gender-bending traditions across a wide range of eras and cultures; there’s even a beat poem about anal sex among early homo sapiens.
Drag is a vast subject, so there isn’t time for much more than a superficial skimming of the surface, but LeBarron makes strong arguments that queens serve an essential societal role, and that minority communities should stop letting themselves be defined into ever-smaller subgroups, though he seems somewhat dismissive about problematic racial depictions. Unfortunately, the fourth-wall breaking narration is self-admittedly overwritten, and too often interrupts the main narrative’s emotional flow; the play only really sparks to life when LeBarron steps into Auntie’s heels, and I’d prefer he’d stay there and show us her story instead of repeatedly stepping out to tell us about it. Still, Complete History of Drag in a Few Mo-mo is an enlightening and entertaining introduction to a topic deserving of more attention, and a fitting first show to experience in the brand-new Rainbow Venue at Orlando’s LGBTQ+ Center.
The Complete History of Drag in a Few Mo-mo
LOS ANGELES CA
Rainbow Venue at The Center
Ages 13 and up
Friday, May 17th 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 18th 3:45 PM
Sunday, May 19th 3:00 PM
Thursday, May 23rd 8:15 PM
Friday, May 24th 6:00 PM
Saturday, May 25th 8:00 PM
Sunday, May 26th 7:15 PM