• Calsey Deverell

Aquaria at The Waterfront Review - 01/02/2019

She's the bitch from New York City. For some reason, Norwich is becoming a top drag performance destination. After seeing the legends that are Shangela and Willam, I am buzzing to see the latest winner of RPDR, Aquaria, at the Waterfront. After being absolutely blown away with Willam and Rhea Litre’s performance in December, I expect a lot from the crowned winner of the biggest drag competition show.

As my favourite local queens RuJazzle and CJ Banks walk onto the stage, people start pushing in, trying to get a better view. RuJazzle opens the show with a lip-sync about having perfect hair, accompanied by a paper fan and ribbon-twirling. Next up, the gorgeous CJ Banks comes in and does cartwheels, hand-stands and deathdrops, all in 6-inch heels and lip-syncing. And the last support act, Miss Asia Thorne, lip-syncs her heart out whilst complaining about hook-ups on Tinder.

And, without any further ado, Aquaria. She struts in, singing one of her own songs in a massive coat made of flowers. This is my favourite look of the night, she looks so warm wrapped up in so many petals as she attempts to sing/rap her song relatively in time with the music. After this, she has a little chat, swiftly moving into talking about Jasmine Masters and her disapproval of wearing only underwear as an outfit. She performs a number in a shiny red skimpy dress, only to suddenly twirl and rip it off revealing more shiny red lingerie. This number is more entertaining as she throws in some cartwheels and not trying to sing.

After a wardrobe change, RuJazzle and CJ come back, and introduce another number by Asia Thorne. Who sings one of her favourite songs, which in all honesty was not memorable. After joking around about Theresa May’s dancing, RuJazzle continues her political discussion with a mashup dedicated to 'America (Fuck Yeah!)'. Performing 'Party in the USA' and 'American Idiot' not only is teenage me dancing, but so is the entire audience. This is the RuJazzle’s best performance yet, I stan.

Aquaria comes back with Set 2, performances based on her favourite movies of 2018. First, she has a box on her head and bird strapped to her finger as she wanders around the stage like she’s in Bird Box. Next, she brings up an audience member to perform 'Shallow' from A Star is Born. And she ends the set with 'Don’t Stop Me Now' by Queen. While the song choices got the crowd dancing, the performance wasn’t too spectacular compared to CJ’s gymnastics.

While Aquaria prepars for her final set, RuJazzle and CJ host lip-sync battle. The contestants are a 14 and 15-year-old, and a queen from the audience. All three of them poured their hearts out with Lady Gaga’s 'Poker Face', and it is the most wholesome battle I have ever witnessed. With the winner crowned and presented with a paper fan as a prize, CJ takes the floor one last time. Her performance is electric. Somehow, she continues to show off her athletic talent without her wig falling off, yet she then rips it off to reveal another wig. This is my first wig reveal and it is everything I dreamed it would be. She flings the other wig off stage and continues to dance and sing.

For Aquaria’s final set, she bases it off her favourite songs of the year and of all time. She sprints around the stage in a pink glittery waist coat and pink punk-style wig. She performs more Lady Gaga and 'Heart to Break' by Kim Petras. She throws in some high-kicks and dance-moves impressive enough to win a lip-sync battle on RPDR, but she also runs and jumps into a speaker, thwacking her face into the side. Painful. But she closes the show well and leaves us to meet her support acts.

Maybe it was that Willam and Shangela’s performances were too good to be true, or I have fallen in love with RuJazzle and CJ Banks. But Aquaria did not live up to the expectation. (Also, shoutout to RuJazzle for sharing my Instagram story).

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