6 December 2012

Carlotta – ‘Life’s still a drag’


Carlotta is Australia’s most famous drag queen with almost fifty years on the stage. Her career started in 1963 when see joined the original cast of Les Girls in Kings Cross and quickly rose to become its star and compere which she mostly did until 1993.

Since then she had a career in TV and film and toured the country first with her big showy production show’s and now with her one woman show Life’s still a drag. 
This highly entertaining cabaret show has been touring Australia for the last year and only last week did she bring it back to her long time stomping ground Kings Cross as part of the Kings Cross Festival. Preforming in a new cabaret space within the Kings Cross Hotel; I was delighted that she invited me along to see the show and generally catch up.
I guess the most charming surprise is this show is 80% sung live and Carlotta has the chops to carry it off and at times belts them out. The songs are mostly showbiz standards and well-chosen to suit her range and theme of this show. A highlight is The Lady is a Tramp, which Carlotta has had rearranged and recently released through iTunes.
Basically it’s Carlotta telling the back story of how Les Girls came about, what it was like and even a few tell-tales involving the personalities behind the glamour. Oh yes she certainly lays it all on the line, and tells it like it was warts and all.

This is a not only a walk down memory lane but also an insight to why Carlotta is referred to as a living legend and the original ‘Queen of the Cross’ and why there will be nobody else like her again.
The costumes are spectacular and she very cleverly manages to change on stage before your very eyes from one fab frock to another. All dished up with the glamour you’d expect or ever want in a show like this.
Lady is a Tramp available on iTunes
Look the jokes aren’t new, but Carlotta is a wonderful story teller and every gag has been cleverly updated that by the time the tag comes they feel fresh and the whole audience laughs like they were hearing this material for the first time.
This show benefits from a whole library of film and video covering Carlotta’s career that is played as a moving background to all the live numbers. From early black and white Les Girls archival footage through her big club shows to her film and TV appearances.

I worked with Carlotta at Les Girls in the 70’s, she’s a sister and I am very fond of her – so biased yes for sure – but it’s a perfect one woman show full of laughs, good songs and an insight to a ground-breaking star and trans trailblazer.  I think everyone should try and see this show while you can when it comes your way next year. You can go to Carlotta.com.au for a list of tour dates – and take your mum with you for the perfect date.  

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