The Ladyboys of Bangkok at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth REVIEW: 'A real dazzler of a show'

I had the pleasure of taking in a cabaret in Thailand a few years ago and I was intrigued to see if the magic could be matched here in the UK.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 9:00 am
Updated Monday, 25th November 2019, 9:15 am
The Ladyboys of Bangkok were at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

I am happy to say that my expectations were exceeded by this slick and visually spectacular show.

The auditorium was buzzing with anticipation and the demographic was a real mixed bag, which complemented the eclectic show perfectly. Classics such as Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and Frank Sinatra’s My Way – which was poignantly performed by the show’s MC Mr Sak (Mr Surasak Suthajinda) – found a place alongside contemporary hits like George Ezra’s Shotgun and a Jess Glynne medley.

Kylie, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Rihanna, Tina and Whitney were all paid tribute to and were brilliantly observed.

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The well-choreographed numbers were offset by injections of comedy and audience participation, with the hysterically naughty Olé (Mr Decha Nuchangsing) pulling male spectators up onto the stage to join in the fun and Jamie John, known to be the UK’s only dwarf drag queen, parodying the globally popular Ru Paul’s Drag Race and James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.

The show as a whole was spectacular – it features more than 400 sequined and bejewelled costumes and they just keep getting better and better throughout the show.

Stand out performances come from the aforementioned Olé, the explosive Lilly (Mr Jakkrit Lannok), the commanding Nat (Mr Sompong Jumninekoon), the agile Amy (Mr Apirak Panklam) and Oak (Mr Taweesak Samdangrit), a seriously smooth mover who keeps the audience in the palm of his hand.

Without exception, all of the performers exude passion, commitment and pride and provided a willing audience with a joyous and exuberant escape on a chilly Friday night.

A real dazzler of a show.