Documentary is a loving tribute to David Raven, a cabaret legend, as he continues to perform in his 80s

‘I should have written a bloody book. I’d have been rich.” So says David Raven, Britain’s oldest drag artiste (he hates the term “drag queen”). At 88, Raven is still performing – perched on a stool – as his alter ego Maisie Trollette. In this affectionate if slight documentary, he tells a story or two, though perhaps not enough to fill a book. Raven’s memory is fading. Nothing is said outright, but the camera lingers a few times on his medication, Donepezil, which is prescribed to help with dementia.

So the film becomes a rather lovely portrait of Raven’s support network in Brighton – an inter-generational group of friends from the drag circuit all keeping an eye on David (“Maisie” is just for the stage). Raven is a legend on the scene. His persona is Marlene Dietrich crossed with a bouncer: bird’s nest peroxide wig and saucy Carry On humour. “He wasn’t glam, he made me laugh,” remembers a friend from the early days. No surprise he became a panto fixture.

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