Why did you decide to paint yourself blue for the entire run of the Edinburgh festival?
Why bring to life a kitsch 50s painting for my first solo Edinburgh show? For years I’ve been rocking up to cabaret gigs with little more than a ukelele and a pair of false eyelashes, and I could have saved myself a lot of trouble. But one reason I’m a performer on London’s cabaret and burlesque scene is because I love dressing up. And the dressing up is as much a part of what I do as the singing. The Blue Lady is a visual pun – never before has singing the blues been taken so literally – but it’s also a story about a heartbroken woman who goes on a journey of transformation.
How did the character develop?
She was born when my friend Dusty Limits started a cabaret night called Kunst (which is, of course, German for art) at London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern. If you came as a work of art you got in free, so I recreated Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl. At the same time I was going through a break up, and feeling pretty blue inside as well. So the two things came together.
What effect does the Blue Lady have on an audience?
I wanted to create a character who is strange but vulnerable, so the audience are unsettled and moved at the same time. Most importantly, I wanted to make the audience part of the show; the essential element that I believe defines cabaret. To find out exactly how, you’ll need to come and see the show for yourself.
What else can you tell us about your show?
The Blue Lady Sings is like nothing I’ve ever done before, but at the same time it’s full of things that have always fascinated me. I’ve included a homage to Bollywood, which has been a passion of mine for many years. Plus I’ve always been intrigued by disguise and secret double identities – and the Blue Lady has many incarnations.
The show runs in Maggie’s Chamber at Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters, 5-29 August at 20.45