In the moments before the show’s main act came on, the audience was filled with anxious anticipation. For the last 20 minutes, we’d been at the mercy of the opening act, who had led us all in a giant sing-along to gay anthems like “Barbie Girl” and “Part of Your World.” He was admittedly very talented and charming, and there was definitely a certain pleasure to blurting out the lyrics to “Party in the USA” while surrounded by drunken homosexuals, but it really wasn’t why any of us were there.
And then, at the sound of guitar strings echoing throughout the room, Trixie Mattel ran onto the stage and started to sing. Just the sight of her signature look — stacks of blonde hair stretching up to the sky, hyper-exaggerated makeup, a pink and extremely well-padded outfit — was enough to make the entire crowd go wild, and our excitement was only amplified by the energy of the song.
By the time the song ended and she traded her guitar for a microphone, the audience was on the edge of their seats, eagerly waiting for whatever would come next.
And I’m happy to tell you that Mattel did not disappoint. Her one-woman show, “Now With Moving Parts,” is a phenomenal showcase of the RuPaul’s Drag Race alum’s talents as both a comedian and a musician, and there was never a dull moment throughout the night.
For those of you who haven’t heard of her, Trixie Mattel is one of the most popular drag queens of our generation.
Despite a relatively lackluster performance on season seven of RuPaul’s Drag Race, she quickly proved herself to be an extremely talented and versatile performer, using her quick wit and musical talents to propel herself to ever-increasing heights of stardom.
To date she’s starred in a very popular web series called UNHhhh with fellow queen Katya Zamolodchikova, which was later turned into Viceland’s The Trixie & Katya Show; released two successful country music albums; and performed her one-woman shows around the world. She’s an artistic powerhouse and jack of all trades, and “Now With Moving Parts” is the perfect vehicle to show off her wide array of talents.
For example, most of the show is Mattel performing stand-up comedy, bringing her unique ability to mix black comedy with slice-of-life observations to the stage.
She perfectly balanced the two aspects, effortlessly making sure that the atmosphere was never too static as she juggled jokes that made us laugh and those that made us gasp in horror. A bad pun about the movie I, Tonya would be immediately followed by a joke about how she looks like Caillou with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome out of drag.
At other times her sense of humor is campy and self-deprecating. During a story about her attempts to appear relatable and down-to-earth while on a date, she paused and looked down at her outfit (a mass of neon pink frills over a sparkly sequined dress) before quickly adding, “I wasn’t wearing this.”
Mattel also showed off her improvisational abilities, often interacting with members of the audience and poking fun at the crowd as a whole. At one point, after delivering one of her signature jokes, she poked fun at herself for including new jokes even though it was the final performance of the show.
Mattel opened and closed the show with musical performances. Most of the songs came from her albums Two Birds and One Stone, allowing her talent with both the guitar and the autoharp to shine. Her discography ranges from energetic (“Break Your Heart”) to mournful (“Red Side of the Moon,” my new personal favorite), further demonstrating her impressive range as a performer.
She also performed several remixed covers of popular songs, like a mash-up of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”
The biggest cheer of the night, however, came when Mattel joked about how much white people like singing along to “Wonderwall.” In response she paused for a moment, sighed, and then immediately launched into the familiar opening chords. Truly a queen for the people.
In the end, the final performance of “Now With Moving Parts” was everything that I could have hoped it would be. The jokes were dark, the outfits were pink and padded, and the music was heartfelt and beautiful; in essence, it was Trixie Mattel at her finest.