At my last Christmas Q&A at the Pleasance Theatre, for sci-fi spoof Escape from Planet Trash way back in December 2019, Ginger Johnson shared a tantalising teaser about her idea for her next offering: “Like Cats, but Dogs”. Can’t you just imagine drag queens as dogs, she hooted.
We no longer need to imagine as – though a year later than planned thanks to Covid, Johnson’s queer canine cabaret Dog Show, this time co-created and co-directed with long-time collaborator David Cumming, has arrived. I was so pleased to be able to return to the Pleasance last night for my third Q&A with Ginger and crew, having started with the first queer Christmas show the Pleasance commissioned her to write, Victorian Gothic horror How to Catch a Krampus is 2018.
The premise for the new show is sillier than ever: set (loosely) at Crappersea Dog Pound, the pooches are putting their best paw forward in preparation for the Annual Rehoming Show. Which of them will find a human to accept them into their home? And do they really want to go?
Ginger and David are joined in the cast by Mahatma Khandi, who also appeared with them in How to Catch a Krampus and Escape from Planet Trash, and new cast members, and also well-known queer cabaret performers, Rudy Jeevanjee and Azara.
All five joined me for last night’s post-show Q&A to discuss topics including dogs versus cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber, party tricks, fetish costumes, previous company member Lavinia Co-op, and two real-life individuals honoured in Dog Show: American trans activist and AIDS educator Octavia St Laurent and Laika, the first animal to orbit planet Earth.
Event photography by Peter Jones.
Production photography by Ali Wright.