Taylor Mac is a walking piece of art. Drawing on the acknowledged traditions of drag, performance art and Quentin Crisp, this young New Yorker could also be a distant but deeper incarnation of Lindsay Kemp, or any other cross between glam rock, circus and fashion design.
The major development here is that Mac has got a voice and is an extremely talented writer and singer too. It is a rhythmic kind of prose-poetry that precedes the trendy form of rap and he therefore takes his beat from the ukulele. But as you gaze at Mac’s carefully considered headgear, make-up and attire, you also sense a connection to baroque and roccoco, and maybe even further back than that.
He claims he is channelling Proteus, the son of Oceanus, at the moment – so there is a turqoise theme to his act. And this is when you realise that the Be(a)st of Taylor Mac – which is the way he refers to his show – is more than just a showcase of random visual, poetic and satirical ideas.
His songs are mostly fantasies which range from the one about Lyn Chaney meeting Sadam Hussain to those that might cure a morning erectile dysfunction and all the way to a revolution that “won’t be masculinised”.
Occasionally he names and shames his past lovers “but he loves them” which probably makes for his most heartwarming number too. And by the end of the show – which does seem to arrive all too quickly – you certainly feel like you’ve been in a sequined, tulle-like heaven of beauty and irony.
Mac has an easy, delightful stage manner, chatting to his lighting operator helpfully all the way through the show and letting the audience warm up to him without threats or tantrums. You don’t even need to scratch the facepaint surface to know that you have the real thing in front of you, only short of an entourage of acolytes for the moment.
Baby Belly, August 3-27
- Taylor Mac
- David Drake
- Paul Lucas Productions
- Running time
- 55 mins