Queens of the Outback

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Queens of the Outback

Dressing up in heels, fishnets and layering up on makeup can be annoying for girls, let alone guys, but the crew of Queens of the Outback have learnt to love it in their new drag show created by Simon Vowles. “It used to take us about two hours, because none of us were drag queens before this,” Simon says. “It’s quite hard, I don’t know how you girls do it all the time. That’s also been a fun experience for us, learning about all the makeup and all that.”
Learning the pre-show routine might be a bit of fun but it’s nothing in comparison to the exhilaration felt once the show has finished.
“It’s tiring, but it’s one of those shows where once you’re on that stage you’re having so much fun, not just on stage with the audience. Most of it is a lot of audience participation and involvement, so you’re just having fun with the whole place and they’re having fun with you. Then all of a sudden it’s finished. So it’s not one of those drainer shows. It’s just a lot of fun,” he says.
Having fun on stage is easy when you’ve got a stellar cast hand-picked by Simon himself. And each crewmember can do more than just sing: there’s one of Australia’s best break-dancers, a pop princess and a stand-up comedian.
“Because I’ve been in the industry for so long I pretty much had a good idea of who I wanted to use in the show as well,” Simon says. “Especially with the drag queens, Justin Clausen and Leigh Barker, I don’t know anyone else in Australia who can really do what they do. One of them sings like Beyoncé and the other sings like Christina Aguilera.”
Simon places a lot of praise on his team, and it’s not surprising given the high energy show they’ve signed up for. Unlike many drag shows there is no lip-syncing and all of the mashed-up songs, made up from over 100 songs, are sung live.
The soundtrack covers tracks from Lady Gaga to John Denver, and aside from the live performances, it’s this strong focus on the music that makes Queens of the Outback unique.
“It’s not just a show. It’s multi-dimensional in a way. We’re giving them two hours of amazing live singing and harmonies and that’s what they love about it,” he says.
The show is currently in its sixth month, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an unhappy face on any of the audience members. A recent trip to Sexpo had this very effect and managed to surprise crowds that would have seen almost everything.
“The production guy at Sexpo said to us, ‘You know what the difference is when you get up on that stage? Everybody smiles’. And it’s true. It’s the whole fun aspect of drag queens; the colour and the crazy costumes. We haven’t come across one person when we’re touring around outback regional Australia that hasn’t liked it,” Simon says.
Given that there’s rarely been a displeased audience member, there’s really only one thing left to do.
“Get out your fishnets, get your heels out of the closet, get your feather boas happening, the biggest eyelashes you can find and come along and have some fun,” he says.
When&Where: The Sphinx Hotel, Geelong – August 22
By Amanda Sherring