Hey kittens. Gladys from the Ellen show said it best: “You know I love Jesus, but I drink a little.” There were a couple of errors in the original version of this review of Mimosas with Mama. I blame it on the Americorn, or one of the other many fabulous cocktails I heartily sampled during my first trip to brunch. Anyway, I went down to see the show a second time and got my facts straight…let’s just hope I didn’t drink so much at this brunch that I fuck it all up again! Corrections noted below. I also had a few thoughts to share on my second viewing of show, so please enjoy this somewhat new and improved version of the review! – Miss Jaye
One of the highlights of my extended trip to Seattle is definitely my brunchstravaganza at this quirky and endearing bar on Capital Hill called the Unicorn: walls painted in mint and white circus stripes with strange freakshow-style paintings, stuffed exotic animals, and intricately carved woodwork one can only assume must be antique painted hastily in garish colors. The Unicorn, serving appropriately fruity cocktails with names like My Little Pony and Unicorn Jizz, has a downstairs bar (the Narwhal) and there you can descend into the delightfully theatrical world of Mimosas With Mama, a weekly drag brunch featuring Seattle draglebrity Mama Tits, the subject of a viral video about a year ago where she can be seen shouting down religious bigots at Seattle’s Pride festival wearing a 3D rainbow across her ample bosoms.
Mama Tits is loud, brash, and talented as hell; she surrounds herself with amazing performers and she’s trying to push drag in new creative direction. I love what she does with her brunch show; it reminds me a lot of the themed shows we used to put on back in the I-Beam days (though done with a much bigger budget and much, much better!). Her current show features a mini-musical of Little Shop of Horrors that incorporates lip syncing not only to songs from the show but also dialogue, fluid and dynamic choreography provided by Tipsy Rose Lee (who is pitch perfect, as it were, as Audrey – more below!)*, and a small troupe of other fantastic performers. Back to the musical in a moment, but first things first, and first we have the early part of the show to talk about.
The first section of the show is pretty standard drag show fare, showcasing the talents of Mama and Ipsy as well as Isabella Extynn and Ruby Bouche. All of the numbers are stylish, the costumes are absolutely on point, and those queens can sync a damn song. There is nothing worse than paying good money for a show and seeing nothing but queen after queen giving you some “watermelon, watermelon, cantaloupe” bullshit. Not in Mama’s House, hunties. Those lipsyncs are tight.
Each queen has her own style and plays to her strengths. Mama is the loud and bawdy Mistress of Ceremonies who will read you to filth but do it with a wink and a smile; there is no ill intent, but you’d better not interrupt her show with your nonsense; things will not end well for you. Isabella is the sex bomb; she came out in vinyl booty shorts and garters to do “Trouble” by Jennifer Hudson and Iggy Azalea, and she was more than woman enough to take on both parts! Tipsy, obviously enough, is the Broadway dame; she offers classy, classic styling with a bit of humor thrown in. Ruby has a similar vibe to Tipsy, though she’s more of a comedy queen and her look falls more into cute and cheeky than it does into glamorous or sexy (still, she incorporates a little bit of both). This well-rounded cast did a few numbers solo, then Mama, Tipsy, and Jasmine brought an audience member up on stage, stripped him of his shirt, and did one of the best renditions of “This Boy Is A Bottom” I’ve seen yet.
Upon my second visit to the show, I was very excited to see that the first half of the show was completely different. There was an opening group number utilizing “Pretty Legs and Great Big Knockers” that was a carry over from last week, and “Boy Is A Bottom” was still there (with an equally nummy new audience hunk!), but all of the solo numbers were new, including live singing by Isabella Extynn and Mama Tits, and a sick’ning Karen Walker mix by Ruby Bouche featuring Four Non-Blondes, Pink, and more!
After the more traditional performances, the queens hosted a short “game show” round where the audience could bid on the chance for fabulous (or less) prizes, some of which were donated by local corporate sponsors like Pop Cap Games. This was fun, and the audience was feeling generous; it’s nice to see an enthusiastic crowd willing to support their local performers not only cheers and applause, but with some soon-to-be-sweaty titty dollars. Sequins don’t fall out of the sky, y’all.
After the game show shenanigans, the show progressed into the musical portion, and this was a delight: featuring video clips from the film and songs spliced together from both the movie and broadway soundtracks, the company worked through the highlights from the show in about half an hour or so (honestly, I was so caught up in the fabulousness of it all, that I lost track of the time!). Isabella and Ruby were the doo-wop girls Crystal and Chiffon, joined briefly by Mama for the “Skid Row” number, and they filled In here and there throughout the show – Isabella genderfucked her way deliciously through “Dentist.” Tipsy was the perfect balance of tacky and air-headed sweetness as Audrey, lipsyncing perfectly to Ellen Green’s breathy delivery. The production used a mix of the Broadway and movie version, both of which starred Green as Audrey, though on second viewing I think one of the versions may not have been Green singing. No matter though; it was absolutely seamless, and Tipsy did a great job of bringing Audrey’s dialogue and songs to life.
New to the cast was Sparkle Leigh, appearing out of drag as the adorkable Seymour. He was endearing and awkward in the role, and by the end you have no trouble believing that Audrey could fall for his schoolboy sweetness. When I went back, Sparkle Leigh also joined the ladies in drag during the first half of the show, with an absolutely glittering performance of “Lesbian Love Story” – it’s easy to see where she gets her name!
Also adding to the non-typical man candy was the sexy guy (in a bad toupee) playing Mr. Mushnik; he wasn’t credited, but he bore a striking resemblance to the waiter dressed in a frilly cupcake (I’d take a bite of that any old time!) who helped people find their assigned spot in the rather cramped seating area. I was seated with this cute, younger gay couple who were all laughter and smiles and had a great time, but I think if our booth-mate, McIntosh party of 1, had actually shown up, we might have collapsed the bench! On my return visit, I learned that this little morsel is known as Kerry Darling; I’m glad to finally have a name to go with that face…and that adorable little ass. Now I know what name I’ll be screaming later, so look me up at the Homewood Suites, Darling darling – I’m here until Thursday!
And then of course, there was Mama as Audrey Two. First I just have to say: that costume, though! It’s layers and layers of sequin and lame fabrics covering stiff leaf shapes and sewn into thick vines and tendrils, perfectly befitting a carnivorous alien plant bent on world domination. Mama was pretty well confined to her pot until the very end of the show, but she did a great job of manipulating the costume’s layers, moving just right so that the vines undulated and slithered like something alive. The look was equal parts camp, B-movie horror, and glam drag. By the end, you couldn’t help but root for the plant to win; in fact, my one regret is that they went with the movie musical version where Seymour electrocutes the plant just in time to save Audrey. I would have loved to see the cast transformed into bloodied, zombified plant victims singing “Don’t Feed The Plants!”
This show experience was wonderful and welcoming, and I enjoyed every minute. There was so much production value that it really felt more tuned in to the rhythms of traditional theatrical performance than your average drag show. Drag is a part of the huge umbrella called theatre, but it’s easy to marginalize it and send it off to the shadows; with her mini-musicals, Mama Tits and her Skyscraper Entertainment are finding creative ways to bring drag to a higher level of production and quality, and it’s a damn good way to spend a Sunday morning brunch. I left feeling inspired, full of ideas and inspiration for ways to create new collaborations and creative ventures once I click my heels together, leave the Emerald City, and get back to the sepia prairies of North Dakota. Oh, but what an adventure while I was gone.
Tags: Capital Hill, Emerald City, Isabella Extynn, Janessa, Janessa J, Janessa J Champagne, Janessa Jaye, Janessa Jaye Champagne, Mama Tits, Mimosas With Mama, Miss Jaye, Ruby Bouche, Seattle, Sparkle Lee, The Unicorn, Tipsy Rose Lee, World of Champagne