Trail-blazing Dinner & Drag show comes to Barry’s Bay
Liz Woosey, owner of the Balmoral Hotel Bistro & Brewpub in Barry’s Bay, made a business decision to host the first ever Dinner & Drag show in Barry’s Bay on Sunday, April 23. Drag queens? In the Valley? Liz Woosey told The Current: “The Balmoral is inclusive of everyone, regardless of religion, sex, or beliefs.” Above from left: Jade London, Liz Woosey, Adrianna Exposee.
Ask anybody in the tourism industry here in the Valley and they will tell you that April is a slow month. Sure, a few relatives and friends might book a room for an Easter visit with family, but once the snow and ice have gone local accommodators hang out their Vacancy signs until May 24 weekend. But the last two sold-out evenings at the Balmoral may make them reconsider that opinion. All members of Woosey’s staff were called in to work for two nights; it was an opportunity for not just the extra hours but also extra tips for servers and kitchen staff.
Woosey was confident about her decision and said, “I knew it was going to sell out – I didn’t think it was going to sell out in 24 hours.” When Sunday’s show sold out so speedily, she seized the opportunity to organize a second night – and within 30 hours that, too, was sold out. Artists Jade London and Adrianna Exposee, both from Ottawa, happily agreed to stay on in Barry’s Bay to entertain another full house on Monday night.
Their sets combined fast music, high-energy dance, lip synch and top comedic timing with stunning show ensembles, impressive decolletages, and flawless maquillage. They performed eye-watering gymnastics while wearing stiletto heels. During the show, Jade and Adrianna made a point of complimenting members of the audience, Hotel staff, food, and the Valley itself. Those compliments were mingled with their ‘City Girl’ viewpoints on rural Valley life, hilarious discussions of their (over-the-top, of course) stage make-up and costumes, and a whole lot more which made for riotous entertainment. Heckling was encouraged and masterfully handled, while the crowd whooped and applauded. These two professional entertainers really know how to “work a crowd” and there wasn’t a glum face in sight by selfie time with Jade and Adrianna at the end of the evening.
The success of the back-to-back Dinner & Drag Shows has encouraged Woosey to try out more new things – she is considering the possibility of other dinner and show combinations at the Balmoral, maybe featuring a hypnotist, magician, or comedian.
When asked how Dinner & Drag entertainment fits with the devout mindset of some community members, Woosey explained that every community has its own “mindset.” She told The Current that the only advertising was on her Balmoral Facebook page “because I didn’t want to upset anybody in the community. I figured if you’re following me, then you’re following what’s going on here at the Balmoral.” As a result she did not share the show poster (above) to any Facebook groups.
Woosey explained, “I gave [the community] this room free of charge for Beer & Theology on the last Friday of every month …. But honestly when a few people found out there was going to be a religious group meeting here – that raised eyebrows. And I said the exact same thing – I welcome everyone. As long as it’s not illegal, anyone can meet here. This is a business, first and foremost … and tonight’s entertainment was simply a business decision because April is a very quiet month for us.”
April = quiet? No longer!