Review: Thorgy and the Thorchestra

Thorgy came to slay Halifax— and slay it she did. Having just recently crushed the only two seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix, former two-time contestant Thorgy Thor quickly became a favourite of mine. Funny, empowered, and creative, she exemplified a lot of the greatest elements drag has to offer. (I haven’t seen All Stars yet — so no spoilers, please.) In the finale of Season 8, Ms. Thor stated that performing in a touring orchestra was a long-standing dream of hers, so suffice it to say that seeing her flaunt her fierce self onstage in Halifax (of all places) felt slightly surreal. 

True to form, Thorgy and the Thorchestra (the ever-excellent Symphony Nova Scotia) was an interactive, hilarious, and slightly raunchy night of both classical and modern music. A graduate of the Hart School of Music and Purchase Conservatory, Thorgy is an accomplished musician, having played with orchestras at the Lincoln Centre and Carnegie Hall. Watching her play both the violin and cello, there’s no doubt that she’s the real deal. 

Riding the lingering high of the just-past Pride Week, Thorgy and the Thorchestra was equal parts a tribute to the famed Drag Queen’s musical inspirations and a salute to past and present crusaders fighting for the queer community. Homages to recognized queer songwriters Aaron Copland and Dame Ethel Smyth, as well as acclaimed, supportive celebrities Whitney Houston and Lady Gaga (among others), were powerful highlights of the show. 

It comes as no surprise to her fans that Thorgy Thor is the physical embodiment of stage presence. Despite it being her Thorcestra’s first two performances ever, she was on top of the world, pulling out all the stops we expect from her. A master of working the audience, she made the packed Rebecca Cohn Theatre burst with laughter with nothing more than a smile. Combine her presence with talented jazz singer Karen Myatt, the charmingly lovable composer Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser (whose Carleton dance move is on point), and the prowess of the accompanying symphony, and Thorgy had theatrical dynamite in her hands. Whereas the overall experience felt the void of her absences during mandatory costume changes — (such is the price of drag splendour, I know) — Thorgy has a show that’ll enrapt the die-hards and convert the unfamiliar. 

So if you’re looking for my opinion, it only seems fitting to end this review with a quote from Drag Goddess RuPaul herself: “I’ve made my decision: Thorgy and your Thorchestra — Shanté, you stay.”

About the author

Carey Bray

Carey Bray is a local artist, actor/director, and writer residing in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He's also a theatre critic for The Coast, and has previously written reviews and interviews for The Coast's Halifax Fringe Festival, Atlantic Books Today, and the online blog, Hello Dartmouth. You'll find more of Carey's work on his blog, Sitting Ovation.