Panti Bliss is a well known head on the Irish gay scene. A national treasure you might say (and she does). She even has her own Cabaret bar in Dublin called the Pantibar. I went along expecting an hour of comedy and lip-synced songs but what I actually got was a very interesting look into the life of a drag queen, told through stories of her life.
Panti caused controversy back in 2014 by suggesting on TV that some journalists were homophobic. This caused her to be sued for defamation of character by several people. Panti’s success catapulted and she became seen as an inspiration to the gay community. The story became so big that it was discussed in the European Parliament over the idea of freedom of speech.
This isn’t the first time Panti has caused a stir on TV though, she was once invited on an all expenses paid trip to New York to appear on the Maury Povich, daytime TV show (similar to Jeremy Kyle). The topic was drag queens getting ‘Back to Men’ makeovers for their families to see what they look like out of make up. It is a hilarious story and Panti even shares some video clips from the show to entertain the audience.
Panti covers a whole host of other insightful topics including living with HIV (something thankfully that seems to be being talked about more openly these days, being the second time at this years Edinburgh Fringe that I saw a performer bear their soul on the topic). Panti also discusses gender stereotypes and explains she wears make up, wigs and high heels because she can and just because she is a man, why shouldn’t she be allowed to wear what she wants.
At just over £20 a ticket, this is one of the more expensive shows at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Despite being far less glitzy and camp than I was expecting, it was a very interesting look at the man behind the make up.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Panti: High Heels In Low Places is playing at the Traverse Theatre until 14 August 2016