Rebecca Humphries and Joanna Cichonska create a touching tale which, despite some pacing issues and production hiccups, sparkles regardless of the levels of glitter in the room.
Prom Kween follows Matthew, a non-binary kid who competes with popular girl Lexy for the coveted plastic crown. Humphries’ book has clear influences from the likes of Grease and Mean Girls, though her Lexy doesn’t have the vulnerability of Regina George. She’s a straight-up bitch, reveling in her sexuality as she gyrates through an earworm of a chart hit parody. Nuance isn’t found in characters: Humphries’ lyrics pack a satirical punch in Cichonska’s score of doo-wop, R’n’B and pop.
Odds are the audience will understand every Drag Race reference, although the uninitiated will find themselves in the dark. As narrator Mama Ru could tell you, background reading is fundamental. RuPaul could also critique the odd wardrobe malfunction. With minimal props and costume, any hiccups do stand out and unfortunately can cut through the teenage dream atmosphere that the company so lovingly creates. With pumping pop hits on entry and free glitter makeovers, the company captures that world-shifting importance of being 16 again.
The play has noticeable pacing problems, with the final act feeling like a rush to the finale, but it’s impossible not to find the show utterly endearing overall. Like Adore Delano in season 6, it’s undeniably likable but still in its formative stage.