8:00 PM at the Leicester Square Theatre and, with phones set to airplane mode and armrests down, it is time for veteran flight attendant-cum-comedienne Pam Ann back to cause mayhem on her 20th anniversary.
The last two decades have seen Caroline Reid as her sky-high-based alter ego, celebrating and ridiculing all that’s good, gay and glamorous about air travel. The show opens with a suitably camp recorded welcome by Alan Carr followed by a dance-along to Spice Up Your Life, featuring four on-stage “volunteer” Spice Girls picked from the audience. Mere false eyelash-flutters later, Pam is in full flight, reverting to her offensive, filthy self – imagine Bernard Manning, squeezed into a sparkly Kylie frock.
The trolley dolley lovingly talks us through the various airlines with a zeal on par with the most enthusiastic plane spotter. Much of the material centres around the largest demographic of her fan base, gay men: “I fucking hate that you queers got equality. Now you’re all married no one comes out with me anymore. I went to New York Pride and I was one of only three fuckers there!” There are tips on how to smuggle drugs through customs (“just hide your G in your Evian bottle!”), enough vulgarity to make even Joan Rivers wince (“after I’d fucked all the black men and Cubans of Miami I had an arsehole like a hippo’s yawn!”), and a ridiculing of United Airlines (“If any of you disrupt my show I’m gonna have representatives from United pull you out of the theatre feet first and smash your front teeth out!”).
There’s more than gags, though, in Pam Ann’s luggage. As in previous shows, she brings out her latest hilarious video parody; this time her target is The Great British Bake Off, with Pam digitally inserting herself in place of Mary Berry and seducing former contestant Selasi in a film short entitled “The Great British Wank Off”.
Approaching final landing, Pam Ann cranks things up a notch, as a cock-addicted, coke-addled hot mess pouring out champagne to her fans in first class. The show’s highlight occurs with a hilariously-executed trolley-dolly routine with a stick-thin Air France crew member, a horse representing British Airways (who invites guest to board via hand-written invitations), a brutally-punctual gay serving for Lufthansa and a KLM staffed entirely by lesbians. Many of the jokes stem from decades-old stereotypes, but Pam has some sharp lines about American Airlines to keep things topical.
Twenty years are a long time for any act and it shows here in places. Some of the material feels heavily recycled, but it is done so charmingly; with her tongue planted so firmly-in-cheek, you can’t help but climb aboard. For fans who love Pam Ann for having a bigger wig and bigger balls than any drag queen, the show is sure to leave few disappointed.
This Is Cabaret rating ★★★★★
Pam Ann: Touch Trolley Run To Galley (20th Anniversary Tour) continues at Leicester Square Theatre until 27 May 2017. More information can be found on the venue website.