Compered by the vivacious and bearded Zsa Zsa Noir, whose punk glamour makes almost as much of a statement as her strident stage presence, the audience were led through performances as varied as they were fabulous, sometimes opulently glam, sometimes as crass as a fishwife. The night opened with Mrs Jonjo, a caricature somewhere between a preteen girl and a St Trinians games mistress, performing a unique homage to (my actual favourite film) Titanic. Re-enacting key moments from the film with a handful of props, her brand of slapstick simplicity climaxed with a performance of My Heart Will Go On on a set of handbells, that made me almost approach her after the show and BEG to be taught the same essential life skill. I also contemplated telling her that I too, at age 19, made my own re-enactment of Titanic, which currently sits under my bed on VHS... maybe it's time for it to resurface soon!
Holestar's Fat Madonna closed the first act, with her irreverant takes on Madonna classics proving uproariously funny and often painfully crude. With parodies including Unlike A Virgin, Get Up In My Groove and Venereal Girl, her Blackpool toilet humour was a sharp contrast to the other performers, but irreverence definitely seemed a common theme for the night, especially for the next act Mr Ted's in Houston, We Have A Problem. The bearded Whitney impersonator balanced a vivid lip-sync of a retrospective Whitney medley with a whole smorgasbord of drugs, which she ploughed her way through in clouds of powder, popping pills like candy.
After the show, Haus of Phag sat down with "Mother herself" Kevin Henry, who came up with the idea for Mother's Ruin in 2009 with Tim Redfern, aka Timberlina. He told me how the show and the Cake Tin Foundation were established because the Manchester gay scene had been severely lacking an artistic performance base for the LGBTQ community. He said that he questioned why Manchester, with its rich and thriving gay community, seemed to lack organisations and platforms to nurture local talent and showcase the best it had to offer. Mother's Ruin was his answer to that.