Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Review: Chelsea's Live Audition Tape

By Michael Block

RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s the dream of so many drag queens around the world. It’s the biggest platform for drag performers on the planet with the greatest prize: fame. In Are You There Ru, It’s Me Chelsea, Chelsea Piers makes her long-awaited Laurie Beechman solo debut in an uptempo romp as she films the perfect audition tape for Mama Ru. With a full band behind her, Chelsea showcases why we and Ru should take a chance on her.
photo by Michael Block
Are You There Ru, It’s Me Chelsea follows Chelsea Piers as she films and submits her audition tape for RuPaul’s Drag Race mere hours before the deadline passes. Following the various sections of the application as the guidelines of the show, Chelsea tries to show that she is a versatile performer with a diversity of talents. Chelsea is a rock and roll drag princess. With her signature Bobbie Pinz color dip-dyed wigs and inherent sexiness through outfits, Chelsea brings a grit and edge to the stage. The conceit of the show is cute and keeps the flow of the show moving. Whether you’ve seen the application before or not, having Drag Race as the reference point expands the show for vast possibilities. What makes this show unique is the set list. There are standard songs you seem to find in show such as this. Chelsea and her team go beyond the norm and find the fresh. Led by music director Brandon James Gwin, the band is the pulse of the show that keeps the fight against the clock alive. Though at times she seems to be overpowered, Chelsea uses her pop-fueled vocals from top to bottom, with only one very important lip sync thrown in. And that lip sync is her dedication to a potential Snatch Game character, Celine Dion. The irony of timing of this show compared the most recent episode of Drag Race is uncanny. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do Celine quite like Chelsea Piers. Perhaps some of the material was new, but Chelsea was most comfortable doing her Celine mix. And it was a crowd favorite. With the plot perfectly set up, when a surprise was thrown in, it was glorious. The biggest of which was the vocal cameo by the “voice of God,” Trixie Mattel. Director Darius Rose, also known as Beechman favorite Jackie Cox, kept the piece moving and engaging while maintaining the fun.
If anything, we wanted to know more about Chelsea. We get some stories that pertain to the relevance of the video, but she may be saving those tales for future shows. Gotta save some material because Chelsea will be back at the Beechman time and time again for sure. Are You There Ru, It’s Me Chelsea is a fresh show for the venue that gives Chelsea Piers a new place to shine.