Dragging Fringe Beyond The Glittered Curtain

Published in Arts  
Dragging Fringe Beyond The Glittered Curtain Image © Tay Bassi
Take a glimpse into the night lives of five fantastic drag queens with ‘Beyond The Glittered Curtain’ created by Crème de la Crème Productions.

The show takes audiences on an intriguing, entertaining journey though the complexities that makes the drag queen world so unique and indescribable.

Andrew Bassi aka Kristina Crème along with Miss Molly, Lucy Flawless, Tina Peechez and Sarsha Delite deliver a show filled with energy, profound experience and as they look to explore and show the audience what the indescribable quality that makes the drag queens so intriguing and entertaining is.

Kristina, the founder of Crème de la Crème Productions discusses the new show, her love for performance and the increasing popularity of drag queens.

‘Beyond The Glittered Curtain’ takes a look at the surreal complexities of the drag queen scene, why did you choose to create a show around that idea?
Crème de la Crème Productions became well known for diva, showgirl cabarets. For the fifth year presenting at the Adelaide Fringe Festival I want to show something with an artistic, avant-garde and more Fringe appeal. 'Beyond The Glittered Curtain' will give insight into the underlying cultural and philosophical aspects of a drag queen’s existence. The surrealistic presentation shall demonstrate the otherworldly nature of a drag queen’s private world, thus signifying that this world is often more spectacular than what is generally seen in front of the glittered curtain. I came back to Australia inspired from performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year followed by a whirlwind trip of Paris. I immersed myself in the performance culture, bonded with fellow artists and presenters and took in the countless variety of shows. I’m eager about experimenting creatively with 'Beyond The Glittered Curtain'.

Drag queens are often seen as out of this world and extremely confident. Was creating a show looking at their dramas and dreams a way to make the performers more relatable?
The cast of 'Beyond The Glittered Curtain' are all quite personable queens. We contribute more to drag and the people than just a superficial being. We want to show our connection to the wider world by taking cultural and philosophical allusions and presenting them in well thought-out, storyline type acts based on the more personal lives of drag queens; increasing an intelligible connection with our audiences. You perform this show alongside Miss Molly, Lucy Flawless, Tina Peechez and Sarsha Delite. What is the working relationship between you all like? It is quite collaborative? All the cast members of 'Beyond The Glittered Curtain' have developed from previous involvement in Crème de la Crème Productions, the Adelaide Fringe and cabaret style drag. Due to these relatable experiences, understanding and prior working relationships we come together well as a team and collaborate cleverly. It is important that we also maintain our individual artistic integrity and uniqueness. It takes all kinds to make a world.

Along with that, what do you enjoy most about working and performing with them?
The queens’ tested ability to think ‘Beyond The Glittered Curtain’ and respect the production’s creative direction was taken into special consideration when establishing a cast. There’s a good feeling of shared appreciation and understanding and we bounce off of each other creatively! We consist of uniquely renowned, award winning queens and all possess the strong work ethic and attention to detail integral to our determination towards presenting a show with a difference.

What was the most challenging aspect of creating this show?
The show structure is quite different to what most drag queens have done before. The team have come together extensively to discuss and develop the production, determined to present it in a well thought-out, distinctive manner. The alternative nature of the show has posed challenges when sourcing music, costuming material and props; but challenges that have been taken on with enthusiasm! Production development has been well achieved, with artists open to expansive sources inspiration.

On the other side of that, what do you enjoy most about performing to a live audience?
I relish the feeling of appreciation from my live audiences. Appreciation for the effort I’ve put into creating an atmosphere around my performances (and productions), involving character presentation, costuming, and feel for my music and lyrics. Often my extensive involvement in the community I’m performing to helps bring about a further, personalised respect.

You’ll be performing this show at the Adelaide Fringe which is a festival you’ve had great success with. What do you enjoy most in regards to performing at the Adelaide Fringe?
The core Fringe principle of creating an opportunity for artists to present their work, often experimentally is important. Adelaide Fringe Festival is a perfect platform for 'Beyond The Glittered Curtain'! In the past we’ve helped bring renewed life and fabulousness to underused spaces, including a successful Fringe show tour to small town Port Germein! Our venue in 2017, Venue 63 on Light Square has an underground theatre appeal, ideal for being a Fringe space and presenting 'Beyond The Glittered Curtain'. We are one of a small handful of shows bringing the Fringe to Venue 63 and therefore helping spread the culture to the city’s West End. Of course, Fringe also helps make Adelaide a creative destination on the world map!

Why do you think people love coming to see your company’s shows?
We put a lot of heart and soul into our productions. Feedback I have received is that the shows emanate a class, maturity and certain je ne sais quoi, showcasing some of the crème de la crème of Adelaide Drag entertainment. My knowledge from a Bachelors Degree in Events Management coupled by extensive international performance experience has also helped see to many successful productions. Costuming is always overseen by Bronwen Bassi (Queen B Creations) whose creations have not only been sported by many elite queens but world champion artistic skaters and Olympic hopefuls, showgirls at the MGM Macau and she has even put together a custom piece for Kylie Minogue.

More personally to you, what is the best advice someone has given you about performing as a drag queen?
The drag queen world can be incredibly cliquey. I feel the best advice I’ve heard over the years is to be true to oneself. Taking this in my stride, I’ve performed across Australia and now the world in shows with some cabaret and burlesque greats. My productions have created opportunities for many other drag queens over the past half a decade to showcase their art and further their careers.

Going to see drag queens is something that has become more popular over time, especially with TV shows such as 'RuPaul’s Drag Race' and festival shows such as yours. Why do you think it has become more popular?
Drag queens have always been revered within certain establishments. I feel that their increased mainstream exposure is due to the further breakdown of LGBTIQ segregation barriers by social and popular culture changes. This has lead to drag being appreciated as more of an art form as well as a gay pride statement. Finally, if someone hasn’t experienced a drag show before, tell them what they are missing out on! Drag queens are larger than life, out of this world. Despite 'Beyond The Glittered Curtain' being a representation of the private, underground world of drag queens, there is no doubt that it will be something spectacular.

'Beyond The Glittered Curtain' plays at Venue 63 on 22, 26 February and 15 March.

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