“‘There’s one life and no return or deposit” is a line that lingers in my mind”
Electra is wearing fairy lights and singing ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ in her London bedroom when we meet her on stage at OFS, as Jewish and queer culture prepares to collide.
Placed on our seats is ‘Electra’s Handy Jewish Glossary for Gentiles’. It’s a predominantly young and female audience here tonight, but everyone is invited to the party.
“exploring the idea that you don’t completely fit in anywhere really resonates here”
‘Becoming Electra: A Queer Mitzvah’ is currently touring the UK and tells the tale of soon-to-be 18-year-old Electra, struggling to fit together the different pieces of her identity. As her upcoming birthday party looms, new friends and old as well as family are gathering together for the first time, the thought of which terrifies her.
Thus, we are taken through Electra’s emotional highs and lows,
Written by Guy’s partner, playwright Isla van Tricht, Electra is played impeccably by drag queen Guy Woolf.
The internal conflict about how we present ourselves to the world, what aspects of our personality we hide or show off in different company is explored well. The show is fun, the songs are witty and the audience really laughs throughout.
“The angst of youth and our desire for acceptance will likely hit a chord for most”
Having only a small rail of clothes to hand, and some pretty piano playing to help bring the story to life, Guy is a confident performer, incorporating audience whoops and a baby’s cry into the set without batting a gloriously made-up eyelid.
The ending is unexpectedly uplifting and emotional, catching me by surprise. Some of the audience end the night in happy tears.
Guy is outside in the foyer afterwards talking to anyone who wants to chat. Lots of people do. It seems that exploring the idea of feeling that you don’t completely fit in anywhere really resonates.
READ OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH GUY WOOLF HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/surprise-success-of-drag-show-becoming-electra-a-queer-mitzvah-coming-to-ofs-tomorrow-night/
With references to the likes of Avril Lavine and Kelly Clarkson, those of a certain age will definitely connect to parts of this teenage drama. But even those with no experience of Jewish or queer culture will be able to relate to some of the themes explored. The angst of youth and our desire for acceptance will likely hit a chord for most.
“There’s one life and no return or deposit” is a line that lingers in my mind as we leave. Electra reminds us that we should have the courage to march to the beat of our own drum, no matter what people might think of the sound.