Review: Pieces of PeeVira: a 10-year retrospective (Camden Fringe, online)

“PeeVira (The Fringy Mime Queen) is an award winning entertainer that combines the art of pantomime with drag through skits, parodies and lip-synching in a variety of shows.”

In 2009, young AJ, a Latin boy, decided to become an entertainer in Hollywood. Pee Wee Herman and Elvira were his idols, and his new drag persona healed his broken heart. Silly, spooky, sexy, sensational, and strange, this is her story so far.

It is a frustratingly short show, whether you are new to the work of the ‘queen of fringe’ or not, which seems a lost opportunity to celebrate how AJ/PeeVira has dealt with catastrophic life events which influenced his drag persona, and become a strong force in comic drag.

Lo-fi video inserts bring PeeVira to life through song and dance, with rewritten lyrics to various songs popular in the queer scene; at just twenty minutes, though, this seems more a trailer than a fully-formed show, with much of it being assembled from static photographs.

Promotional image for Pieces of PeeVira

I didn’t get much of a sense from Pieces of PeeVira of her gift as a mime artist (watch some of her work on YouTube to experience this), and although horror comedy and pantomime are clear influences, there is not enough here to comment on either. Use this show as a springboard to explore this artist further.

What is of particular interest is how the drag persona grew and evolved, and you can get an overview of what PeeVira currently does on her website (https://thefringymimequeen.wixsite.com/dulceart). The retrospective gives a backstory of a shy boy who created a performer persona to hide behind, but in fact AJ is an accomplished creative force in his own right – follow him on Twitter.

You can stream Pieces of PeeVira: a 10 year retrospective in Camden Fringe to 29 August – book your ticket here. It is produced by DulceArtWorks Inc and is available on demand. For more on PeeVira, follow her on Twitter.

What do you think?

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