On a damp, Olympic fuelled Wednesday night a select group of Londoners gathered at the Leicester Square Theatre for the premiere of Leave it on the Floor, a vivacious, colourful musical set around the LA Ball scene. It is an intimate affair with an eccentric, elite crowd of men, women and elaborately dressed drag queens. Creeping through the bedazzled and bejewelled troupe, I felt very underdressed, normal and bland!
Theatrical legend Simon Callow introduced director Sheldon Larry who enthusiastically announced his prized cinematic work. This original musical takes its inspiration from the documentary Paris is Burning. Leave it on the Floor concerns a group of outcast gay, transvestite and transsexual men strutting their stuff in assorted fashions as they compete on the catwalk before a panel of judges. The film documents the trials and troubles of handsome lead Brad, who finds himself a new family at the House of Imminence after being kicked out of home by his bullying mother. We watch as the romance and drama unfold in a musical which manages to be strangely touching.
It is a poignant and memorable narrative and as the film develops, I was amazed to discover how affecting and touching the musical manages to be. Surprisingly even my macho guest admitted to enjoying this unconventional film. The cast are confident and convincing and work together in a collaborative team; stars Ephraim Sykes, Andre Myers and Phillip Evelyn are particularly impressive. The rest of the audience seemed equally engaged, watching fascinated while adjusting their wigs and stockings. The girls toilet queue was an equally shocking show of costume and flirtation as ladies and “ladies” both lined up waiting their turn for a cubicle! I was reminded of my favourite West End musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert as I admired the extravagant and intricate clothes and immaculate make-up… it put me to shame in my hideously casual boyish attire.
Leave it on the Floor was on at the Leicester Square Theatre.