There's men, there's women, and there's the Kathoey. Sometimes known as the 'third sex' or more colourfully as 'lady boys' these Thai transsexual males are a great deal more convincing than your average bloke in a dress.
We've all seen pictures of them. Some of us have even been slightly miffed that a member of the opposite sex can do femininity better than we can. But the novelty factor of their transformations isn't their only appeal. The show was a top-seller at Edinburgh Festival Fringe for six years, and now the producers are taking it on the road to cities around the UK. From 11 October, it's the turn of Leeds. So what can audiences expect?
The show, called Devils and Angels, is an extravaganza in the best sense of the word. Think feathers and sequins, dramatic make-up, and high-kicking choreography. Blending comedy, dance, and cabaret, it's a party night out that will appeal as much to fans of Strictly Come Dancing as Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
The organisers describe it as 'sexy but never vulgar' – audiences are more likely to be singing along with renditions of pop and West End hits than cringing in embarrassment at over-familiar displays of sexuality.
The show aims to bring to life the heat and excitement of the nightlife of Bangkok, which can't be easy on a rainy Tuesday night in Millennium Square. However, the Lady Boys are experts at getting the atmosphere right, even bringing their own portable 'Sabai Pavillion' with them as they shimmy and sashay across the country. This giant tent is designed to whisk the audience out of their everyday lives and into an exotic world where you can sample Thai food, have a pre-show drink, and stock up on your cabaret essentials in the Boudoir shop. Then it's time for the show to start...feathers at the ready.
The Lady Boys of Bangkok, Devils and Angels 2008 Tour arrives in Leeds on Saturday 11 October and runs until Saturday 25 October. Performances will be held in the Sabai Pavilion in Millennium Square. Adult tickets cost £19 and £22 (concessions £19 and £17, students £10). A box office will be open on site from 7 October. Get tickets in advance by calling Quay Tickets on 0871 702 9510 or click here.