Last year I was fortunate to discover a new show by Alfie Ordinary at the Adelaide Fringe and lucky for all of you he’s back this year once again perform his show Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous. Alfie Ordinary isn’t your average drag act. In fact, he’s one fabulous Drag Prince who in 2018 was awarded a Pick Of The Fringe Award. It’s one of my Fringe recommendations and a show you need to put on your “must see” list. Alfie Ordinary was kind enough to answer a few questions for at Hi-Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.
Alfie Ordinary is known as a Drag Prince. Can you tell us a bit about Alfie and how you differ to a Drag Queen?
Alfie is the son-of-a-drag queen, so he’s a Drag Prince, and as a Drag Prince he identifies as one thing and one thing only and that’s God-damn FABULOUS! He’s got everything that a drag queen has, head to toe sequins and rhinestones, a wig, make-up and eyelashes, but he’s a boy!
How did you get started in the Drag scene? Was it something you always wanted to do?
I always wanted to be a performer. When I was six years old my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up and I said to her “Mum, I want to be a Spice Girl”. After I studied theatre at university I discovered drag and cabaret and began dabbling in costumes and makeup. It took about two years to fully realise the character and concept and write “Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous”, which is sort of Alfie’s introduction to the world.
You’re coming back to the Adelaide Fringe after a successful run in 2018 as well as winning a PICK OF THE FRINGE – 2018 Weekly Award. Was that your first time in Adelaide and do you have any great memories of that Fringe season?
Last year was my first time in Australia and I had the best time! Other than getting to perform my show every day to new and lovely audiences in Adelaide, I got to visit some amazing places. I held a koala called Bella which was so cute and went on a gorgeous wine tour. The best part of my visit though was seeing all the brilliant theatre and cabaret work that happens at the Fringe and meeting so many incredible artists. The Fringe Club has such a warm and welcoming atmosphere and it was so lovely to dance with everyone after their shows. I think my absolute favourite moment was when I was DJing at the Fringe Club and the place was absolutely packed and I played the YMCA and all 1000 people in there danced along with me.
This year you’re bringing the show to Gluttony as well as taking it to the Adelaide Hills region. Are you excited to be performing nearer to the hub of excitement of the Fringe where Gluttony is based and also in the outer country area of Stirling?
I’m so excited! I loved heading over to Gluttony last year to check out the other shows and get amongst the Fringe atmosphere. Stirling Fringe last year was so much fun, I played in a sold out circus tent and had the people of Stirling singing along to The Greatest Love Of All, swaying and hugging each other. In all honesty it was that moment that I had to stop and pinch myself because I felt so blessed and humble that I had the opportunity to travel across the world and spread Alfie’s message of love and happiness, and people were so supportive!
What can your audiences expect at this year’s Adelaide Fringe? Tell us a bit about your show.
“Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous” is a one man drag show set in ‘Madame Le-Coq’s Preparatory School for Fabulous Boys’. Like Harry Potter, but Hogwarts is run by drag queens. It’s a coming of age story told through the eyes a boy who has lived without the pressures of modern masculinity. There’s live music, cartwheels and even some celebrity cameo appearances.
What is the message of Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous and what you would like your audience to take away after seeing the show?
Alfie has one simple message, which is to love yourself, and love each other. I’m a great believer in treating other people the way that you would like to be treated, and I wrote this show based on my own experiences of growing up gay and feeling like I didn’t fit in but couldn’t understand why. Although the subject can be upsetting, the show is positive and uplifting, with the message “Some People Are Fabulous. Get Over It!”
You were selected as part of 4 British drag performers to appear in the Toyota car commercial. That would have been exciting when you were approached. How did you feel when asked? What are your thoughts on how a large corporate company is helping break down the barriers with the acceptance of drag and its performers?
Gosh the Toyota advert was such an incredible experience. I was approached by Toyota to come up with a concept for a billboard ad for their new car. I told them I wanted to create the excitement of a confetti explosion, with colour and movement everywhere! They loved the idea and we began working on it! A documentary crew followed me around Brighton for the day, having fun on the pier and came to a gig, then we spent a day on set with a world famous photographer and costume maker. It was like being a movie star for the day.
My makeup artist had worked with Lady Gaga and Tina Turner, the photographer had shot for the cover of Vogue and the costume maker trained under Vivienne Westwood. It was such a surreal and magical experience. Then the adverts started coming out and the response was great from people that knew me, but there was a huge backlash of negativity on Twitter that reminds us that even though we live in 2019, with equal marriage and equality laws, there are still a large amount of very vocal people who think that anything outside of their own ideas of ‘normal’ is wrong. Having comments like “Never buying a Toyota” again just highlights that there’s still a long way to go in regards to equality.
It seems drag is really making a splash around the world. Are you excited that Ru Pauls Drag Race is coming to the UK?
I can’t believe it’s finally happening! I’m so excited! The UK drag scene has gone mad! It’s all anyone is talking about. Who’s going to be on? What will the challenges be? Who will the guest judges be? I wait to see how it all turns out. Got my fingers crossed for all my favourite UK drag queens.
Is that something you would consider or are you happy to keep stick to the Fringe circuit?
I love the Fringe circuit, and even if I was to go on something like Drag Race, I’d still come back to Adelaide and do the Fringe. The show looks like so much fun! I love the creativity of the sewing challenges and some of the acting challenges are brilliant. One problem though, I’m terrible at lip-syncing!! So, I’ll be taking my sparkly shorts and Sashaying Away!
Interview by Anastasia Lambis
For more tickets, show dates and times for Alfie Ordinary’s show “Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous” head to Fringe Tix…
[Photo Credit: Kate Pardey]