Denali and Utica – Tour Review

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If you follow us on social media, you will be aware that at Rhys Reviews we don’t just do reviews of new and emerging musicals but also we do reviews if new tv shows specifically Ru Pauls Drag Race. If you don’t follow us on the socials ..… you should! The fact that we are able to watch all the different franchises (we are so excited for the premiere of Drag Race UK season 3 on September 23rd) of the show and share my or hear other people’s thought of each individual episode is so incredible. Despite being a big fan of drag as an art form, I have never seen a strictly drag show. I have been to numerous pride events, cabaret evenings, drag bingo events etc but never a concert where a queen is the main attraction and they keep you perform a plethora of talents to keep the audience entertained for a set. As a drag race fan, you can imagine my excitement when it was announced that Denali Fox and Utica Queen (from US drag race season 13) would be coming to a nightclub near where I live to put on a show!

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The event took place in a gay bar called pulse in their underground area. This space was extremely hot but did have a raised stage so that the queens had space to perform but also was big enough so that the audience could have a dance and move around on the dance floor which was nice. The Cardiff section of the Denali and Utica tour was hosted by Jolene Dover who is a local drag queen who I have seen at many events in the past including fun house bingo which also took place in pulse. Jolene managed to perfectly get the audience hyped and ready for the opening act which was a series of performances from the haus of Kendoll. This included Gothy Kendoll who is known for being the first queen sent home in Drag Race UK season one. Being sent home first must have been very disappointing but Gothy seems to have found what she excels in and that is DJing. Her section of the set got the crowd even more excited for the show and the preceding acts which was fantastic! The rest of haus did performances throughout the night both individually and as a group which were also very entertaining.

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Utica was obviously known in her season for being the artistic and cooky queen who created one of the greatest design challenges outfits when she made an incredible sleeping bag costume! I know there was some controversy after her roast performance on her season but I do have to say that she was so sweet and polite when I met her and it’s clear that the pressure of the show can make you act in ways you would not usually! I even managed to get a photo with Utica after the show in another nearby club where she was so friendly and polite despite having just performed and travelling across the UK! Utica brought all the quirkiness through her set with her lipsync performance of “I need a hero” by Bonnie Tyler being a clear crowd pleaser! Denali on the other hand was declared as the lip-sync assassin as season thirteen with her performance of 100% pure love on the show still being insanely iconic even today! Denali delivered an amazing performance of “every time we touch” by Cascada with was full of flips , tricks and splits that had the audience very excited. She was bending over backwards , climbing up the staging and generally serving a high energy PERFORMANCE!

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Overall , this was a very fun show that allowed both Drag Race and local queens to showcase their talents which is always very important. Despite this show being headlined by two drag race queens , I do have to remind everyone that there is so much more to drag as an art form than just drag race and I must encourage everyone to support their local queens. Both Utica and Denali gave amazing performances and brought their respective signature style to the show. I would rate this event 4 out of 5 stars!

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