The queens from RuPaul's Drag Race have been coming to Manchester for some time now, but while the more well-known stars have appeared at Holy Trannity, a handful of the more niche cult figures have recently been performing at The Library, a new night at the recently refurbished Taurus. While Katya and Phi Phi O'Hara have already trod the stage, Sunday night saw the most avant-garde of all the queens make her Manchester debut.
Milk has a genuinely unique aesthetic, using glitter beards and moustaches, while fully exploiting the connotations of her name for all that it's worth. And in the run-up to her performance, the supporting Librarians had climbed aboard this rolling gag. With a lip-sync to Kelis' 'Milkshake', a man being drowned in his breakfast cereal mid-performance and a queen dressed as the Milky Bar Kid, there were subtle references to the headliner throughout her support, which is testament in itself to the impact Milk has made. How many other of the Drag Race alumni could you give the same treatment? Not many, I'd wager.
Miss Blair, dressed as a trashy Hooters employee, bemoaned in her lip-sync that she's too pretty to clean toilets. Dressed in hotpants and a skin-tight top, the performance was refreshingly satirical, with far more depth to it than I think anyone was expecting, exposing the character's hopes and yearnings, instead of glamorising her physical appearance. Narcissa Nightshade meanwhile, corseted and stockinged, revelled in a Desperate Housewives-style love triangle that turned her into a vengeful black widow... which is exactly what Narcissa was born to be. Vampy, glam and statuesque, her performance maintained a tight and well-paced narrative, which brought a welcome moment of pure theatre to the evening.
To conclude the evening of course, Milk stole the show from everyone. Willowy and angular, she towered above the audience in her enormous heels, dressed initially in a dress made solely of carrier bags. Lip-syncing to a doctored version of Katy Perry's 'Firework', the dress became the subject of a later verbal gag, cleverly constructed to create a risqué bridge between the two numbers. Even when technical glitches delayed her performance, her rapport with the audience was heady and giddy, basking (albeit somewhat modestly) in the adoration of the crowd. And to everyone's delight, she was happy to indulge all sorts of inside gossip from her time on Drag Race, whilst making her dislike for previous Librarian Phi Phi O'Hara gleefully plain.
Milk was the perfect end to a fantastic night; the first time Haus of Phag has attended The Library. The show appears to be more focused on theatricality and artistic content over frocks, wigs and sequins and while The Library might SEEM in competition with Holy Trannity, it's tone and presentation is really quite different. And is all the better for it.