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The Lady Boys of Bangkok

The Lady Boys of Bangkok are a touring troupe of Thai transvestites who dance, sing and do burlesque and bawdy acts.

They normally play in Brighton in a pavilion during the Brighton Festival for a month commencing May 6th.  I went to see them yesterday inviting a young companion.

Their’s is a slick act and there are various ways of monetising the show beyond the ticket price. A gin and tonic set me back £9 but the beaker – bearing the name of the show – is refundable and for £4 you can have your picture taken with the Lady Boys in the interval

The USP is the lady boys – whilst sexy and glamorously-dressed in exotic costumes – are all men.

I found this wore off quite quickly but they danced with brio, mostly they mimicked well-known songs and, much to the audience’s amusement, brought members of the audience on stage. One person was blindfolded and shackled to a chair whilst the lady boy mimicked various sexual acts.

The audience – especially the female element which was in the majority – found this hysterical.

Gender fluidity is part of Thailand’s culture.

The music hall had artistes who pretended to be men (I’m Burlington Bertie from Bow is a particular favourite of mine) and cross-dressers like Danny la Rue are well established variety British acts.

This is fusion of both traditions.

There are a number of variables in going out. We had a rude taxi driver take us there; a lady on our table insisted on holding her phone high above her head in order to video the performance – this obscuring our view; there were no taxis outside, forcing us to walk to the station for my friend to catch her train home.

I did not object too vociferously when she suggested we leave early.

I am pleased I saw the show but it will probably be another a couple of years before I do so again.

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About Tim Holford-Smith

Despite running his architectural practice full-time, Tim is a frequent theatre-goer and occasional am-dram producer. More Posts