Don't Miss BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon Holiday Show (And It's Streaming This Week)

by Robert Nesti

EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor

Sunday December 5, 2021

BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon
BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon   

Since Boston's Wilbur Theatre became a comedy club, many don't realize it had a storied history as a legit playhouse for most of the 20th century, in which such great actresses such as Jessica Tandy, Faye Dunaway and Kathleen Turner appeared. Add to them BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon, who, like their predecessors, performed to an enthusiastic, sold-out house with their bigger and better holiday show. It is doubtful, though, any of those stars — or anyone — could have been as deliriously funny as this dynamic duo.

Or dynamic musical-comedy duo since the pair write the original songs and provide this two-hour show, entitled "The Return of the Jinkx & Dela Holiday Show LIVE!," with a loose-knit narrative, which pits the two friends against each other as they are performing their first holiday revue since the pandemic. Their 2020 pandemic experience is shared in a funny video interspersed throughout the show that depicts their manic experience during quarantine.

Previously the pair appeared in Boston at the smaller Paradise in 2019, and as funny as that was, they have amped things up considerably this time around with the addition of cheeky chorus, cast against type. (Not "Magic Mike" hunks, more hipsters and non-binaries.) The writing (they collaborated on the script and songs) is so smart throughout that here's hoping the pair will collaborate on another musical to display their abundant skills. (They previously collaborated on the 2020 film, "The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special" (available for streaming on Hulu and VOD).

For the record, the pair (from Seattle) are each former "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestants, with Jinkx having won Season Five. BenDeLaCreme appeared in the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, where she placed fifth and was voted Miss Congeniality by viewers. In 2018, she appeared in the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars, where, after a record-breaking fifth challenge win in episode 6, she chose to eliminate herself, claiming she had already proven herself and that she felt the other remaining contestants wanted the crown more than she did, according to her Wiki entry.

BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon
BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon  

In the show, BenDeLaCreme is traumatized by the pandemic and comforts herself with a puppet of a holiday mint — called Peppy — whose chirpy, sing-song voice and optimism irritates Jinkx, who is anti-Christmas pagan and can't stand any holiday cheer. The oblivious BenDeLaCreme responds with a droll musical number where she recreates her childhood holiday as a WASP growing up in Connecticut, complete with a chorus of khaki preppies. (The number shades a similar one in Sandra Bernhard's "Without You, I'm Nothing.") Jinkx has none of that and rails against how the holiday is manufactured to perpetuate the capitalist hierarchy. Their ongoing debate culminates in a ludicrously funny number in which a towel-clad dancer represents Jesus, and BenDeLaCreme wears angel's wings, and Jinkx plays the Devil.

After that, things get worse, and the second half has the pair putting together separate acts, with BenDeLaCreme pairing with her puppet companion and Jinkx introducing a decidedly skeevy puppet to perform with. All this transpires with numerous costume changes, absurdly funny dance routines and the irresistible synergy between the two leads. (BenDeLaCreme is the director.)

Throughout, of course, the pair look amazing in an ever-changing fashion parade, which becomes a funny visual joke during the show's heartfelt finale. In appearance, the pair evokes classic looks from the past: BenDeLaCreme, whose a ringer for Yvonne DeCarlo while she starred in "Follies" on Broadway, and Jinkx, a brassy redhead who recalls such 50s celebs as the late Arlene Dahl, expertly play off each other with an endless barrage of barbs aimed at each other.

And for those who cannot catch the show live as it continues its tour through December 30, it was announced this week that the show will be streamed on December 9 from its Chicago date. If you can't see it live, don't miss the streaming of this hilarious and relevant holiday gem. In this bigger and better holiday show, BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon deck the halls with drag delirium.

For more on "The Return of the Jinkx & Dela Holiday Show Live!" Including the remaining tour dates and streaming information, follow this link.

Robert Nesti can be reached at [email protected].