by Steve Desroches
BenDeLaCreme is the science teacher you wish you had. As she looks out into the vast expanse that is our universe she sees amongst the floating celestial bodies an endless array of cocktail options. Just like Comedy Central’s Drunk History, BenDeLaCreme’s new show Cosmos: Space. Time. Splash of Cran is like going bar-hopping with Neil deGrasse Tyson: you’ll be a bit tipsy, have a good time, and can’t help but learn something.
The sweetheart of season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race, this is BenDeLaCreme’s ninth season in Provincetown, but only her second doing a solo show after last summer’s Terminally Delightful. As a member of the burlesque troupe the Atomic Bombshells, also a Provincetown favorite via Seattle, “DeLa” is one of the most creative and inventive drag queens on the circuit today. And this show is a clever and quirky mix of classic drag, burlesque, comedy, and vaudeville, all with a splash of children’s Saturday morning science show. The sheer inventiveness throughout the show reveals fun surprises, such as the evolutionary chart striptease where DeLa begins as a prehistoric marine creature and ends as a drag queen, with millions of years of adaptation condensed into a five-minute rhinestone-studded performance, which is a major highlight.
Watching BenDeLaCreme develop as a performer over the years in Provincetown has been a delight, and it’s especially enjoyable watching her parlay her RuPaul’s Drag Race fame into something special, considering the golden opportunities it provides. It’s testament to the creative spirit of Provincetown and the support of its audiences (a chatty bachelorette party in the front row notwithstanding) that the best and brightest of drag continue to call this town a creative capital for the genre. To have a drag queen show you the whole cosmos that she sees within her pink cocktail is the very example of how the art of drag continues to grow and expand, just like our universe, as this tiny spit of sand way out in the Atlantic Ocean provides a planet all its own for those who want to come here and take risks creating something new. In this case, it’s a fun, inspired, high-art approach to drag, with a twist, both literally and figuratively. There’s smart, deep references mixed with jokes about Uranus, of course, but above all else the show is crackling smart with a sly sense of humor. And the science within is real and accurate, made all the more approachable when presented with sequins and triple sec. So if you leave the show talking about quantum physics or lipstick shades, you can always say it’s just the booze talking.
BenDeLaCreme presents Cosmos: Space. Time. Splash of Cran.at the Cabaret at the Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial St. through September 8. For tickets ($25) and information, go to the box office, call 508.487.1430, or visit onlyatthecrown.com.