Who knew the Queen lived such a frivolous life?!
Carole Shaw did!
'Amazing Adventures Of Her Majesty At 90+' is created by – and stars – Carole Shaw. It's the story of a thoroughly modern, fully-empowered female role.
This affable musical comedy exposes the unknown life of the Queen, her passions and desires, with revealing revelations, some parodies on well-known songs, some home-spun philosophy, free cake and biscuits, the odd Shakespearean quote, a sing-along, a quiz with prizes and maybe an opportunity to dance. Our dear Queen as you’ve never seen her before.
Here, Her Majesty herself (Carole) sat down to answer a few questions about the show.
“Now look here, you young whippersnapper from the former Antipodean colonies. One should have your backside tanned. Show some respect to your Head of State. One’s Principal Private Secretary, the lowly commoner Ms Shaw, has conveyed the message that you wish answers to some questions concerning the Royal personage. Kindly read the attached and refer to one as ma’am in future – rhymes with ham, not farm.”Where did the idea for this show come from?
It has a longish history. I was always telling jokes like “I gave up tea with Liz and Maggie (the former, first lady Prime Minister 1979-90) in order to come to your wedding” etc. When I got married at the tender age of 40 in 1992, I gave a speech and introduced two invited guests at wedding – Margaret Thatcher and the Queen (afterwards, a young cousin said “but it was you, not them!”). Maggie was invited as she was the family’s favourite person (as if). The Queen had to come as she wasn’t going to be upstaged by some grammar school gal and grocer’s daughter from Grantham. As we were coming up to our 10th anniversary, I decided I’d resurrect the Queen. In the intervening years I’d entertained colleagues at work’s parties/meetings. Nothing like livening up a meeting with the odd joke, I realised I had been taking off powerful women and the fascination with how one handles personal power in an intelligent way had been with me for some years. I did a whole act as the Queen at a work’s Christmas party in 2001. It was also a spoof on the organisation. Although it appeared just a comedy, there were some important messages behind the act which one or two twigged. I needed them to laugh at a particular point for the act to really work. When they burst into raucous laughter, I knew I could do it professionally. I then started to do open-mic spots as the Queen at London comedy clubs, went in for competitions and attended courses with a well-known comedy outfit. In 2006 it was the Queen’s 80th birthday and I took a show to Edinburgh Fringe, entitled 'Amazing Adventures Of Her Majesty At 80', which was a precursor to the current show. It had that title because the Queen’s life has been anything but adventurous or amazing. She’s been forced to lead a life of boring duty as she wasn’t intended to become Queen. I then fell ill for ten years and thought I wouldn’t do comedy and performing again but things changed in 2018 and I gave it a go again. Although the show is a daft, crazy comedy, there is actually a serious philosophy behind it, some important points I’m trying to convey. In the quiz at the end I ask the audience if they can give me three points I’m making. Also, most of the act is based on experiences I’ve had so it is semi-autobiographical.How has the Queen been able to get away with such behaviour all this time?!
By keeping it under one of one’s many stylish hats and being a mistress of discretion. One does not blow one’s own trumpet and make a spectacle of oneself.And what has triggered her to finally be open and honest about her wild lifestyle?
Princes Andrew and Harry have dominated the headlines recently. Before that, we had Charles, Diana and Camilla and that menage a trois. Before that, there were mumblings about Prince Philip’s indiscretions and Princess Margaret got up to her antics and had all the fun. Now it’s time for me. At 93 going on 94, one has nothing to lose. . . But one’s inhibitions. One has kept quiet and been meek, dignified and dutiful for so long, now is the time to let one’s hair down – but not the country. Intrigued about the latter? Jolly well attend the show, my good man, and find out. You are regally commanded and all will be revealed. And there is mention of the Queen’s undergarments. Queen Victoria would have been most amused, as will you.Why do you think this show works in a Fringe festival environment?
People are open to all sorts of experiences. There is a general fun atmosphere of enjoyment and bonhomie. A Fringe festival allows room for experimentation and trying things out.You're not new to the world of performance. What do you love most about it?
Getting people to laugh and enjoy themselves. It’s a great thing to do, especially as life can be so serious. The sheer magic and thrill of performing.This is a musical comedy – what kinds of songs can we expect throughout the show?
A large number – some sung in entirety, some just a couple of lines. Most are comedic re-workings of well-known songs from musicals/popular music (there should be a quiz afterwards of guess-the-musical/original) and a couple of straight tear-jerkers.What is the ideal audience reaction to this show?
Spontaneous combustion into raucous laughter. Participation in song and dance and quiz questions. Enthusiastic enjoyment of Arnott’s Royals etc.
'Amazing Adventures Of Her Majesty At 90+' plays Auditorium 5 at Palace Cinemas Raine Square 3-16 February (Perth Fringe World) and The Warehouse Theatre 24 February-8 March (Adelaide Fringe).