Described as “The frockumentary of the year”, you could be forgiven for assuming that there’s very little depth to Colin Rothbart’s film Dressed As A Girl. Whilst there’s plenty of lipstick and mascara on show, the make-up only goes to cover-up the much more serious issues hiding underneath. Rothbart spent six years filming Dressed As A Girl and this dedication and perseverance really pays-off, for whilst it occasionally loses focus, it’s a lively document of one of London’s lesser-known underground scenes.
Dressed As A Girl tells the story of East London’s alternative drag scene. Narrated by ringleader in chief Jonny Woo, the film tells the story of some of the most celebrated performers. Along with Woo, Rothbart follows the unique characters and personalities of Scottee, Holestar, Amber, John Sizzle and Pia. Whilst the exhibitionists struggle to carve themselves a unique niche, they all have their own battle scars which threaten to undermine all their hard work.
Jonny Woo alone would make a fascinating characters study, but each player brings their own challenges and past-histories to the table. Two of the most effecting tales are those of Amber’s struggle to transition and gain acceptance from her gruff Mancunian dad and Scottee’s attempts to get over childhood abuse and ostracisation. The latter’s show is particularly powerful, but it’s the humour which they all try and approach their daily struggles with that really shines through.
Dressed As A Girl is out in cinemas on Friday.