‘Beverly Kills Presents: Heaven and Hell’ was heavenly.
Tucked away next to the bustling Suncorp Stadium, during the second night of the NRL Magic Rounds, stands the gorgeous (and pink) Christ Church Milton. This heritage-listed site would be the home for Beverly Kills’ sold-out show ‘Beverly Kills Presents: Heaven and Hell’ as part of Brisbane’s (Meanjin) Anywhere Festival. ‘Beverly Kills Presents: Heaven and Hell’ is Beverlys’ amalgamation of her growing up surrounded by God, showing the audience how this idea affected her and the choices she made thus far.
Beverly Kills is Meanjin’s local superstar who made it to the Top 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under Season 2. Presented by Seismic Talent Agency, Beverly’s cabaret-style drag show included lip-syncs, stand-up, costume reveals, whip-cracking, and a dildo-making competition. Focused on her religious journey, Beverly was tasked by God (A.K.A. Minnie Cooper) to prove that she has been good enough to go to Heaven.
For the unconventional theatre, the lighting design was crafted to elevate Beverly’s performance. Freestanding lighting fixtures were used to illuminate Beverly, using a white light throughout most of the show. Lights were placed at the Altar of the Church to illuminate the back wall and ceiling with different colours, which created a beautiful atmosphere for the show. Audience participation was largely encouraged throughout the show; from speaking directly to the audience and asking for a response, to bringing two audience members up to the stage to create dildos out of Play-Doh. Beverly chose songs to perform that coincided with the theme of Heaven and Hell, including the pre-show music which was a nice detail.
Beverly’s costumes, as expected, were fabulous. Her costumes transitioned from Heavenly to Hellish throughout the show, which made for some impressive quick changes and incredible reveals. The look of the night was her yellow latex dress with a heart-shaped window revealing her buttocks with a devil tail coming out from where your imagination may tell you. That look of hers was iconic and expertly crafted, the only distraction was that the back of the dress was unzipped, which made the neck loose and almost ruined the illusion for the audience.
‘Beverly Kills Presents: Heaven and Hell’ was Beverly’s creation; writing, directing, and choreographing the comedy cabaret herself. Beverly spoke confidently to the audience, telling her childhood story and the effect it had on her choices in adulthood. The script itself was funny and entertaining but could’ve been more effective if the story had a little more continuity with the theming of the show. Beverly commanded the stage with her performances and lip-syncs and showed off her skills as a drag queen with costume reveals, whip cracking, large feather fans and performing up and down the aisle.
Beverly’s one-woman show was as entertaining as it was engaging. Ironically at the Christ Church Milton, the venue elevated and added to the message of her performance. Through lip-syncs, stand-up, and her many other skills, ‘Beverly Kills Presents: Heaven and Hell’ was a treat for the Meanjin audiences to enjoy.
‘Beverly Kills Presents: Heaven and Hell’ performs until the 7th of May at Christ Church Milton as part of the Anywhere Festival. For more information visit their website.