On Saturday, legendary San Francisco drag queen Peaches Christ brought yet another one of her signature movie-parody-drag-mashups to the Castro Theatre. The show, “Bring It On, Queen!” featured a variety of San Francisco-based queens as well as a selection of international drag superstars — including Bob the Drag Queen and Monét X Change, who won past seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” respectively.
The show followed the premise of the 2000 cult film “Bring It On,” in which the cheerleading team of the affluent Rancho Carne Toros steals routines from a talented but severely underfunded rival team, the East Compton Clovers. In this rendition, Monét led the Toros, renamed the Sponges — a group of scheming cheerleaders who constantly fight with one another and with Monét. Bob headed the Clovers equivalent, the Purses. Each team was labeled after a hit song released by its respective queen: Monét’s “Soak It Up” and Bob’s “Purse First.”
Drawing in the crowd with ample references to “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Bring It On, Queen!” relied heavily on crude jokes and pointed humor directed at specific queens. Christ even included a whole roast session of famous drag queens such as Trixie Mattel and Jinkx Monsoon — all under the guise of a comedy show fundraiser hosted by Bob for the Purses. This addition was an excellent break from the plot and a showcase of the comedy skills that won Bob his season.
The show also included real cheer stunts performed by trained cheerleaders. Including flips in the air and lifts, these tricks garnered plenty of cheers from the audience. As Christ commented in an interview with The Daily Californian over email, “Cheer-leading is integral to the spectacle, (so) we’ve brought in actual cheer-leaders (bases and fliers) so we can have actual cheer stunts happen onstage.”
Fans have compared Monét and Bob to siblings (rightfully, they even have a podcast called “Sibling Rivalry”), and their natural chemistry was a fitting highlight of the show. Christ commented on their bond, writing a couple of days before the show, “I love that they’re openly very competitive friends. … I think that seeing these two queens create comedy magic together is going to be an even bigger spectacle.”
And, just as predicted, the two were absolutely successful at commanding the stage with their comedic riffs. Playing off of each other, Monét and Bob would ad-lib and chuckle, allowing spontaneity to guide them.
All in all, “Bring it on, Queen!” was not a well-rehearsed theater extravaganza — and it wasn’t supposed to be. There were moments during the show when lines were forgotten, dancers were slightly off time and jokes didn’t quite land as expected; Monét had attended a total of three rehearsals and Bob had attended two, also having flown into San Francisco the morning of the show.
Even more than simply a gaudy production, the show was a space for the audience to sit back and appreciate the translation of the drag world into a stage show. “Bring It On, Queen!” was, quite simply, meant to provide a good time. And, despite such a short rehearsal period and the performers’ busy schedules, Christ and the queens pulled off this feat wonderfully.
Christ definitely stole the show. As a guest choreographer hired by the Sponges, Christ breathed the passion (and intense jazz hands) of the original film into the performance. Without Christ’s energy, the show would’ve been missing something to tie it all together.
Christ expressed her enthusiasm for leading the event: “I’m thrilled to be a part of the story of SF drag in any way whatsoever!” she wrote by email. “I feel like the drag history in the Bay Area is brilliantly unique. From the Cockettes to the Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence to the Imperial Court to Trannyshack and beyond, this scene has constantly been inspiring and reinventing the way drag could be performed.”
On the whole, “Bring It On, Queen!” further cemented San Francisco’s place in the drag world, providing a much-needed excuse to unapologetically enjoy what the city has to offer.
Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected].