Review: Drummer Queens

While the clever pun of this show’s title went right over my head until I said it out loud, there’s certainly nothing subtle about the show itself, a rollicking, floor-rumbling 90-minute all-female drumming extravaganza that constantly finds ways to reinvent itself and keep the performance fresh and innovative.

As the name implies, a team of eight female drummers (known as Bey-B, Freedom, Rebel, Switch, Zen, Sass, Luna and Cap) serve up a dynamic show full of rhythmic routines and drumming excellence, with their talent and on-stage chemistry truly bringing the house down on multiple occasions.

There’s barely a word of dialogue spoken in the show, with the performers miming everything instead. It matters little as this is a show that relies purely on its music and visuals, with some incredible lighting effects deftly adding to the spectacle as the gang bangs out some thumping tunes on stage.

Apart from the use of a large xylophone and the occasional guitar, most of the drumming is done without any other musical accompaniment, and it all works incredibly well. And while there is plenty of traditional drumming equipment littered all over the stage, anything and everything on stage is used as a drumming instrument, including the performers themselves.

It’s really impossible to not get swept up in the spectacle and the magic of what is contained in this show. There’s something very primal about the performance itself, and the show’s cast have an infectious enthusiasm that is hard to resist. Special mention must go for Bey-B (Georgia Anderson) who has seemingly boundless energy and flashes a beaming smile from start to finish, and somehow has the energy to do a fair amount of impressive gymnastic routines throughout the show.

There’s also a superb number that incorporates a tap dancing number from Freedom (Peta Anderson), and a wonderful drumming duel featuring Cap (Ned Wu) and Luna (Claudia Wherry). There’s around 25 numbers in total throughout, some short and sharp, some incredibly complex and elaborate.

The Drummer Queens set instantly conjures up an industrial setting, and much of the music appropriately evokes the sound of clanging metal. Overall, the set design, lighting and costuming are all quite minimalist and never take attention away from the performers themselves.

While there are numerous highlights throughout, the real show-stopper is a sci-fi themed segment towards the end which utilises the show’s most elaborate lighting effects and has Rebel (Stef Furnari) on an elevated platform working her magic on a electronic drum pad. The moment when the other Queens emerge, in a haze of green mist, to stride to the front of the stage, with lightsaber-esque glowing drum sticks at the ready, is truly the most magical moment in a performance with no shortage of jaw-dropping moments.

The show’s conclusion was met with a deserved standing ovation from a packed opening night audience, and was well deserved. The energy it must take to perform such a physically demanding show such as this is truly to be admired, and the musical talent this incredible group of performers treated us to is truly out of this world.

Based on this performance, the Drummer Queens are instant rock royalty in my book.

Drummer Queens is playing at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre until May 8th.

Future dates are as follows:

Brisbane – 11-16 May – Lyric Theatre, QPAC
Wollongong – 8-11 June – Illawarra Performing Arts Centre
Perth – 15-17 June – Crown Theatre
Mandurah – 23 June – Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
Bunbury – 24 June – Bunbury Entertainment Centre
Albany – 26 June – Albany Entertainment Centre
Canberra – 30 June-3 July – Canberra Theatre
Adelaide – 7-19 September, Dunstan Playhouse

Tickets and show information can be found at https://www.drummerqueens.com/
Photos by David Hooley | Supplied

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