Posts with the label drag
Showing posts with label drag. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drag. Show all posts

Friday 27 July 2018

In Conversation With... Ian Stroughair aka Velma Celli | Interview

Ian Stroughair aka Velma Celli has the voice of an angel, is as hilarious as they come and truly knows how to put on a show. After seeing Velma Celli's West End Christmas I was completely overwhelmed and have since been following Ian's career (and life) on twitter. His latest venture is Iconic- A History of Drag which will be playing at the Edinburgh fringe...

How did Velma Celli come about?
Well, I have always been a singer much to my siblings annoyance. At age 14 I auditioned for a new musical called ‘Kes’ at The York, Theatre Royal. It was a professional show which needed an ensemble of kids. Much to my surprise I was cast. It was my first time on stage. I joined a Ballet school in York just before my sixteenth birthday. 3 months later my Ballet teacher sent me for an audition for a Theatre School. I got in and started that summer. 

After 2.5 years I was out into the world and working as a singer/dancer/actor. I have appeared in West End and musical productions of Cats, Fame, Chicago, Rent and also appeared on Eastenders as myself…. I know, CAMP!!!!

When I was in Chicago I was asked out for an evening of drinks by the “girls" In La Cage and Priscilla. I bought a dress and some makeup and dragged myself up and out of stage door and met them in Madame Jojo’s. Apparently I ended up on stage belting out some queen and dropping into the splits. I can’t remember this, #gin! When I was leaving the manager asked me back the following week and I have never looked back!

You've had a very varied career, what's your favourite part of performing as Velma and creating your own show?
The freedom. When you are in a West End musical it's very strict. You are directed to give the same show every night and there is little room for your own creativity and interpretation. Velma is mine and she can do whatever she wants. Sing whatever songs she like. It’s very freeing!

You're taking your show, Iconic- A Brief History of Drag to Edinburgh. What can people expect from the show? 
Iconic - A Brief History of Drag is a journey through my most favourite moments in drag history, whether it be music, pop culture, film or theatre it's those Iconic unforgettable drag events that inspired me to do drag and cultivate me into the queen I am now. They can expect to laugh (a lot) cry (a bit) and learn a bit about drag, things that people may not know. The past hero’s. A blooming good night if anything else!

Can you sum up A Brief History of Drag in 5 words?
Heartfelt, funny, camp, belt and emotional 

You have a stunning voice. How do you keep it strong and healthy whilst facing the strains of touring?
Thank you. Lost of water and vocal rest. Healthy food!

If you could go back to any era, when would you go to and why?
I would have to say the 1960’s. I believe I am quite the hippy! 

What's your number one piece of advice for aspiring performers who would like to carve their own, unique career?
WORK HARD. Work harder then repeat. This business is not for the faint hearted. It’s tough at times and the competition is high so armour yourselves with as much knowledge and learn as many skills as possible. Bring something to the party too. The odds of getting cast are extremely slim so I encourage all my students to write their own material and / or shows.

Thank you to the incomparable Ian Stroughair/Velma Celli for your amazing advice and story. Iconic- A Brief History of Drag will be at the Edinburgh Fringe from the 1st-26th August, at Assembly Checkpoint.  

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

In Conversation With... Ian Stroughair aka Velma Celli | Interview

Friday 27 July 2018

Friday 18 May 2018

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sydney’s Capitol Theatre | Review

Priscilla Queen of the Desert 
Capitol Theatre, Sydney 
Reviewed on Wednesday 16th May 2018 by Amy Mitchell 

Warning: Adjective Overload 

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, on it's 10th Anniversary tour, is an all bejewelling, all bedazzling, all singing (well mostly lip-syncing) all dancing, OTT, smut-fest, sprinkled with heaps of sentimentality. 

Based on the 1994 award winning Aussie comedy-drama movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert created by Stephan Elliott– This iconic Australian musical follows Sydney drag queen Tick (alter-ego, Mitzi Mitosis), Kylie Worshipper come sass machine, Felicia Jollygoodfellow and former glittering Les Girl, Bernadette as they jeté aboard their beaten up tour bus Priscilla. The trio embark on a voyage of friendship, self-love and acceptance as they “Go West” across the Aussie outback from Sydney to Alice Springs. 

Jam packed with jukebox disco bangers like Son of a Preacher Man, It’s Raining Men and I Will Survive – with vocals often led by three belting divas suspended from the rafters, this movie come musical is a camp as Christmas bonanza- yet, amidst all the frocks and fancies this show has heart. Our three main characters navigate through wild bush and even wilder prejudice while Tick prepares to reunite with his 6 year old son Benji, all the while battling the fear that he won’t be accepted for who he really is. 

The show is scattered with witty one-liners, innuendoes and sass a plenty – as a whole it lacked a bit of substance and moved at a pace that made it difficult to truly believe or understand the deep connections of the three main characters. The set was clumsy at times and some of the racial gags fell flat on the PC sensibilities of a 2018 audience. 

Back to the positives and don’t get me wrong they were bountiful! Euan Dodge slays as the naive yet outlandish Felicia, his debut rendition of Better The Devil You Know was a riotous affair. David Harris is brilliant as Tick, see-sawing between heartstring tugging ballads like True Colours to thumping disco tunes. Tony Sheldon plays Bernadette, a role he sharply delivers with class, poise and a fabulously acid tongue. 

The costumes! The costumes need an adjective of their own. An insanely fantastical abundance of glitter splattered, nonsensically superfluous garb that tickled the audience until curtain’s closed. 

Priscilla is more EXTRA than a Wrigley’s factory, and at it's heart a tremendously extravagant celebration of acceptance, draped in a kaleidoscope of colour and fun!

Priscilla Queen of the Desert runs at the Capitol Theatre until July 21st 2018

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sydney’s Capitol Theatre | Review

Friday 18 May 2018

Thursday 16 March 2017

La Cage Aux Folles (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

La Cage Aux Folles
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 15th March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

We're starting to see glimpses of summer but if you need something else to warm and brighten your life then the UK Tour of La Cage Aux Folles is the show for you! The production is high-kicking, glitzy, high energy and feather filled.

The Tony Award winning musical tells the story of Albin and Georges, a couple living idyllically in France. Albin moonlights as the drag star Zaza in the glamourous club: La Cage Aux Folles, which is owned by Georges. Their peaceful existence is put to halt when Georges' son (played by Dougie Carter) announces that he is engaged to Anne, the daughter of a politician: Dindon (Paul F Monaghan), who is against all things homosexual and wants to close down Georges' "den of debauchery"!

This is a story of love, family and individuality. The family struggle to stay as a strong unit whilst trying to change themselves to impress Anne's parents, therefore allowing their son to be happily married.

John Partridge, veteran of the stage, plays the larger  than life Albin. Having recently seen John in Chicago, I was extremely impressed at his versatility on stage and ability to transform into someone else completely. The role is demanding both physically and emotionally, with moments of laugh out loud humour, to quiet moments of pin drop silent emotion. John perfectly nails the character, with the the right amount of sincerity and vulnerability to balance the over the top flamboyance. 

Partnered with Adrian Zmed as Georges, the pair have a believable and touching relationship which works very well in the theatrical setting. West End legend, Marti Webb also gives a lovely performance as Jacqueline.

Overall the show is full of life, laughs and lunacy. There is enough energy to power London and enough sparkle to give the Chrysler building some serious competition! Every performance is energetic and the production is really a gem! For a fun, carefree night out, be sure to make a visit to La Cage Aux Folles!

La Cage Aux Folles runs at the New Wimbledon theatre until March 18th 2017 before continuing it's tour.

La Cage Aux Folles (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Thursday 16 March 2017