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Bianca Del Rio brings the circus to town in hilarious new arena tour - review with pictures

By Rebecca Stanley | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

In a world that may seem dark and scary, there's one 'clown in a gown' here to make us all laugh once more.

Bianca Del Rio on the It's Jester Joke tour at Arena Birmingham. Pictures by: Eleanor Sutcliffe

And last night, RuPaul's Drag Race winner and accomplished comedian Bianca Del Rio, the drag persona of New Orleans artist Roy Haylock, brought their first UK arena tour to Birmingham.

The It's Jester Joke tour is hitting various arenas across the UK before culminating in two performances at none other than Wembley Arena - making this the biggest ever solo drag tour in the UK.

As fans queued around the King Edwards Road venue shouting 'not today satan', the excitement was already palpable. The seasoned comic has already wowed Brummie crowds with previous tours The Rolodex of Hate, Not Today Satan and Blame It On Bianca Del Rio, and crowds were itching to see what scathing and shocking observations she could come up with next.

First up to warm up the eager crowd was Ohio rapper, singer and comedian Wendy Jo Smith, better known by her stage name Wendy Ho.

Hitting the stage in a hot pink zebra-print catsuit and wild curly blonde wig, Wendy immediately had the crowd giggling with her own smutty take on Stevie Wonder's Isn't She Lovely.

Wendy is crude, rude and lewd - and the audience lapped up every single filthy innuendo and tongue-in-cheek comment with glee. The star covered everything from working for the Trump's and wanting to steal Ivanka's expensive handbags, through to her husband and their private antics to raucous whoops and chortling across the room.

Bianca Del Rio on the It's Jester Joke tour at Arena Birmingham. Pictures by: Eleanor Sutcliffe
Bianca Del Rio on the It's Jester Joke tour at Arena Birmingham. Pictures by: Eleanor Sutcliffe

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Her set combined anecdotes with her own signature parody songs that have made her an internet sensation. From Rihanna through to Oleta Adams and even Lionel Bart, no artist was safe from Wendy and her vulgar tongue as she took these well-known hits and gave them a new life with her own twisted sense of humour.

Eventually getting the whole crowd to proudly sing her dirty lyrics, Wendy well and truly readied the audience for what was to come with her scandalous antics.

"If you're shocked by what I say, you wait until Bianca comes on stage. I'm just the fluffer," Wendy warned the audience, and she certainly wasn't downplaying the obscenity to come.

After a short video introduction, Bianca strutted onto the stage in a glittering pink, blue and orange jester-inspired dress with a matching orange wig, embracing her clown aesthetic to the full.

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But this clown is not the sort you'd hire for a children's party, as she immediately dived into politically-charged jokes mocking Donald Trump, Theresa May and Boris Johnson to gasps from the audience.

"I'm going to offend you, and if you don't like it, there's fire Brexits there," the 44-year-old comedian cackled, before launching into a 75-minute set that had eyes streaming and sides splitting throughout.

Bianca Del Rio on the It's Jester Joke tour at Arena Birmingham. Pictures by: Eleanor Sutcliffe
Bianca Del Rio on the It's Jester Joke tour at Arena Birmingham. Pictures by: Eleanor Sutcliffe

From this moment on, no topic was off limits. From disabilities through to sexuality, religion, friendship, social media and Naked Attraction, Bianca reeled off cutting remarks and shocking observations with ease, keeping the audience captivated with the most simple side glances and sips from her wine glass.

Bianca didn't even have to move to cause erupting laughter across the room - the most simple of pauses or roll of the eyes had the audience begging for more, a true testament to her effortless star quality.

Though every joke had the ammunition to offend the entire room, the intelligent and articulate way she executed each punchline had everyone laughing together, something in our current climate we need a lot more of.

Irreverent and cutting, Bianca owned the stage from start to finish with a polished and precise set that cemented her status as 'The Queen of Mean'.

But once her set ended, she wasn't done with the audience. Before the show began a select few fans had the chance to ask Bianca a question that would be answered during the show - but little did they know that the house lights would be lifted and they'd be made to stand in front of thousands of people to have their questions answered.

Bianca Del Rio on the It's Jester Joke tour at Arena Birmingham. Pictures by: Eleanor Sutcliffe
Bianca Del Rio on the It's Jester Joke tour at Arena Birmingham. Pictures by: Eleanor Sutcliffe

Chaos ensued as Bianca discussed what her favourite type of hat was, who the most hateful person she'd ever met was, and even named a baby before repeatedly questioning one lesbian couple on their romantic history, to raucous laughter from the entire room.

Taking one final bow joined by Wendy on stage, Bianca once more showcased her glittering comedic talents in a truly beguiling show that perfectly blends shock and insults with comedy.

We can only hope Bianca brings the circus to Birmingham again soon.

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley
@becci_star

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me: rebecca.stanley@expressandstar.co.uk

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