Review: Do I Have to Do Everything My Fucking Self? (Buddies in Bad Times)

Regina by Alejandro SantiagoNothing is safe from Regina’s fiery wit in her song and dance cabaret at Buddies in Toronto.

“This show should be sold out,” she says, taking a seat in the front row. And she’s right. In her one-woman cabaret, Do I Have to Do Everything My Fucking Self? at Buddies in Bad Times, Gentleman Reg’s drag persona Regina lights up the stage and takes us on a wildly entertaining journey.

It is a journey where nothing is safe, as Regina (Reg Vermue) turns her acerbic wit upon everything from Montréal to veganism. It is smart and pointed with subtle puns that almost slip by your ear and brilliant one-liners that hit you round the head. Combining this comedic flare with song, dance, and a dash of hilarious poetry about farmer’s markets, Vermue’s show is an unpredictable delight.


Regina’s band is Light Fires, which has toured across Canada and Europe. Her breathy voice floats over the catchy original electronic music. With songs like “Dependent” (with Owen Pallett) and “Let’s Get Divorced” Regina shows off her brilliant pop musicality. (And yes, you can purchase a CD at the door, or online through iTunes and Bandcamp.) A quick glance around the theatre revealed everyone bopping along to the beats.

The anecdotes cover an astounding number of topics and ideas. Hilarious breakdowns of Charlie’s Angels plots and an extended monologue about a disappointing orgy––during which she introduced her parents in the audience––are balanced by a poignant confession about growing up queer in Guelph (and not knowing it).

Musings on life in the music industry also pepper these stories. My favourite: Regina warning the audience to love her now before another country does (think Peaches in Berlin). It is a timely jab at the Canadian custom of appreciating artists only after they achieve success elsewhere.

Vermue’s writing is spot-on, for the most part. Though I loved the breadth and seeming randomness that Regina covers, I found myself craving a stronger through-line or theme to hold it all together.

In addition, the premise of breaking into a cappella song is introduced early on, but there are a few shifts from monologue to song that caught me off guard and felt out of place. This is exacerbated by the stark difference between the a cappella snippets and electronic songs.

Neither of these are deal breakers. Regina is so magnetic that I would follow her down any strand of thought that caught her fancy.

It is that magnetism, rippling with sass and humour, that makes Do I Have to Do Everything My Fucking Self? a must-see. It’s not your typical cabaret, and Regina delights in that. Get ready for a wild ride.

Details:

  • Do I Have to Do Everything My Fucking Self? is playing June 19-20 at 8pm at Buddies in Bad Times in the Cabaret, as a part of Queer Pride 2015.
  • Tickets are $15 and are available online here and through the box office at 416-975-8555.

Photo of Regina by Alejandro Santiago.