RuPaul's Drag Race Renegade BenDeLaCreme Is Ready to Be Committed
The terminally delightful drag queen is back in New York with a new show about marriage.
BenDeLaCreme is not the kind of queen to remain stuck in a bad situation. Fans of RuPaul's Drag Race saw the most dramatic expression of that when DeLa (as her fans know her) cheerfully eliminated herself from season 3 of All Stars right as she was steamrolling to victory. It was the most punk rock moment ever on the reality drag competition, cementing DeLa's reputation as a queen who won't be bound by convention. So how exactly does she approach the convention of marriage, one of the oldest in our society, and a newly won benchmark in gay life? With uncommon wit and impeccable showmanship, naturally.
BenDeLaCreme Is…Ready to Be Committed is DeLa's fourth solo show to premiere at New York's Laurie Beechman Theatre, and it's all about getting hitched. Provoked by a fear of dying alone in an apartment full of hungry cats, DeLa decides to get married. She buys a six-tier cake first, and then looks for a husband on Grindr (depicted here as an exceptionally depressing dating game show). But will her mystery fiancé arrive in time to tie the knot? Or will he leave her at the altar like a postmodern Miss Havisham, clutching a bag of Doritos and waiting for the feline God of death?
Like DeLa's 2016 show, Inferno A-Go-Go, Ready to be Committed is told through a combination of live performance and prerecorded video, with every character played by Benjamin Putnam (DeLa's real name). We meet a bratty wedding cake topper, Cupid himself, and a gaggle of gay men whose sole purpose is to make wedding dreams come true for choosy straight women on a reality show called Say Yeth to the Dreth.
Ready to Be Committed is nonstop laughs thanks to the flawless execution of the technical team at the Laurie Beechman, and DeLa's ability to play her own straight man. DeLa endows every moment with outrageous theatricality, mugging to the audience and delivering exceptionally bad puns without breaking character. And she doesn't just do this with the video: This is a show in which almost anything can become a puppet (and usually does). We get a sense that, were DeLa not discussing bachelorette party plastic novelty penises, she would make the most entertaining children's television host ever.
DeLa has a special ability to convey big concepts and arcane history through vaudevillian spectacle: She delivers a rap on the scientific view of love, naming all seven major chemicals that stimulate our brains to make us think we're falling head over heels. She then performs a Beyoncé parody about 12th-century European marriage titled "All Medieval Ladies."
Like any good drag queen, DeLa dons several memorable outfits over the course of the evening, from a summer dress featuring a print of kissing doves and clinking champagne flutes, to several runway-ready wedding gowns. She models them all in her terminally delightful way, holding the room rapt for 80 minutes of seriously funny cabaret and commentary. If you're looking for a main attraction for your anti-bachelorette party, this is it.