Monday, September 4, 2017

Review: A Total Toot

By Michael Block 

Raja has a solo show? What is it going to be! That may have been the collective question when the RuPaul's Drag Race season 3 winner announced her solo debut. She even had her famous friends take a brief good luck to start the show. Some still questioned the move. But to those celebs who may not have seen it, Raja defied the odds to compile a great night of entertainment in Gawdess.
photo by Michael Block
Making her Laurie Beechman and solo cabaret debut, Raja gave the audience everything they could ask for, and then some. Beginning with a medley of some pop and rock classics, Raja stuns in gold, with a reveal that leaves the audience eager for more. Never has anyone turned the Laurie Beechman into their own personal runway. Raja has an incredible stage presence. There's an exuberance of confidence and wisdom that she brings out. From there, it's a night of lip sync, story, and fashion. For a first crack at a solo show, Raja does a great job included all the pieces it needs. Moving forward, incorporating more of a structured through line where each moment connects will make the piece more cohesive rather than the segmented work it is now. Giving a theme to the night could easily help, especially when you have so much material in your wheelhouse. I’m certain Raja could easily create a half dozen new shows with the journeys through her life and career. Vocally, Raja went with music that was comfortable, yet kept the night alive with the high-pulse numbers. Her lip syncs were captivating as she seduced the audience in her own version of a little black dress. As proof with her Youtube hit show “Fashion Photo Ruview,” Raja’s ability to talk to an audience on mic is sensational.
Gawdess is a fantastic solo debut for Raja. The Drag Race superstar exceeds expectation for a full night of entertainment. After a run in Provincetown, she’ll return once again to the Laurie Beechman during Drag Race weekend.