FRINGE INTERVIEW: Late Night Lip Service Presents GINGZILLA

Ferocious queens and fierce divas of the world, unite! Hosted by Gingzilla – the giant, ginger, award-winning Glamonster – Late Night Lip Service features a rotating cast of the wildest acts from across the fringe, lip-sync battles, debauched drag, catwalk-offs and midnight madness. With three of the most dizzying, demented and daring acts from the Edinburgh Fringe taking to the hallowed floors of Gingzilla’s unholy church each night, immerse yourself in an evening of entertainment, music and dance where – quite literally – anything goes…

Gingzilla is “the 7ft tall bearded Goddess that your daddy always warned you about.” Fresh from a smash-hit, sell-out season at Adelaide Fringe 2017 – where she scooped the coveted Adelaide Fringe Innovation Award & Weekly Best Cabaret Award – Gingzilla sat down with TSA to talk beards, spanx and Geri Halliwell. 

As a fellow bearded homosexual, I love your beard. What do you believe it brings to Gingzilla’s persona?

I’ve always had a beard as Gingzilla! When I first started a year ago my beard wasn’t as big but I found the bigger it got the more impressive it became. What I like about Gingzilla is that I border on the line of femininity and masculinity. I worked at this club in London when I first started and my make up was big, typical big eye brow drag make up. But as I’ve started to find a more natural looking face, people reacted to me differently. I think the beard adds colour!

So tell me, how are you feeling about Fringe? 

I’m so excited! I just had a tech rehearsal for Late Night Lip Service last night, which I’m hosting and curating. The venue itself is incredible. Have you seen Interview with a Vampire? Remember that scene where they have that weird vampire play? That’s what the venue reminds me of, a beautiful church that has been painted black. The lighting in this is some of the best lighting in the Fringe. It’s going to be really fun. 

What has been your experience of performing in Scotland so far?

I was just here a few weeks ago to do Surge Festival, which is a physical theatre festival in Glasgow. And last year I did a couple of spots as Ging when I first started, which was mainly me flyering in different outfits during the day!

Gingzilla

So what is the premise of the show, is it different to Glamonster Vs The World?

Glamonster was a complete show, more of a character piece. It was like a 1950s drive in movie experience. You discover Gingzilla in this 50s world and she’s trying to become a woman but the world keeps telling her she’s not. The first part is set around “How To Be A Good Wife” and she tries all the things and obviously fails. She rebels, rips all her clothes off and embraces her monster self, totally channelling all those 50s B movie horror films. Like a cabaret theatre piece. I clown. I lip synch and sing; I was a professional singer before I became Gingzilla.

Why do you think lip synching is such an important part of drag? 

Drag was initially about emulating a woman; like in Shakespeare’s day. Then ever since then with pantomime dames and such we began embodying the best and most fun parts of feminine form. It all started with all those amazing divas of the 50s that men wanted to emulate. 

What is your all time favourite lip synch song, and what song would you actively avoid?

Oh, Finally by CeCe Peniston! It’s the best. Could possibly be featured in my show…I hate anything with lots of words. Lip synching is hard! People don’t understand; when you’re singing, your mouth is just kind of floating along but when you’re lip synching you have to articulate everything. I love a ballad; open mouth words and vibrato. Like Detox!

I like Manilla’s cross eyed lip synching.

It’s so funny how all these Drag Race girls have their own iconic style of lip synching. Mine is more character-based. I piece together spoken word texts in with song, like a mash up of Nicki Minaj’s Monster verse then quotes from Catwoman and Alien. “Get away from her, you bitch!” Strong, iconic heroines. 

It’s interesting how drag is such a platform to emulate the women we find so powerful. Do you feel drag gives you license or confidence to do whatever you want?

Completely. I think that’s the thing I love about drag the most, it gives me a license to do anything. Women come up to me after a show and tell me “You’re so beautiful, you’re so sexy.” I’m like, “It’s not real, I’m using what you have! Girl, put on the spanx and the fake tan!” Drag’s history lends itself to allowing us to do anything, people expect us to. Everyone complains about my chest hair! I do try and look like a woman but am obviously a man. I’m 7ft tall. The point is to bring the best of both worlds. 

Who are some of the inspirations behind Gingzilla? 

Definitely Lucille Ball; when I started, I looked back at the glamorous women of the past. I always wear suspenders and lingerie; it was an era where people dressed in a way that emulated sensuality. As for characterisation, I have Lucy living inside me. Coming from clown school, when I put heels on this stupidity comes out! I never did drag in Australia, I kind of saw it initially as a lower art form; but when I moved to London, I saw the most creative and innovative work. 

How would you describe the drag scene in London? It seems completely vast and diverse.

It has pockets of totally different styles; out east, it’s…kind of hairy! It’s not about being a woman, more using femininity to be creative. In the west end, they’re all musical theatre all singing and dancing, south is a little grungier. The best thing about the UK is that drag is so embedded in the culture. You have Little Britain, Mrs Brown’s Boys, League of Gentlemen pantomime. When is RuPaul coming here?!

What can people expect from the show?

Lots of lip syncing, a cat walk; from me they can expect high drag, moments that willl gag you. It’s going to be pretty f****g fun. Apart from me, we have some of the coolest acts of the Fringe coming on, a really eclectic mix of acts. Expect the unexpected; we have an adult bubble show, with a striptease in a bubble. Drag kings like King Biff (who TSA were lucky enough to interview a few months ago), circus acts like Tara Boom…

You’re spending the month in the most ginger country in the world. Who is your favourite celebrity ginger?

Can I tell you a funny story first? When I first arrived in Edinburgh two years ago, I was served by five separate gingers in the same café. I saw whole families of gingers, it was amazing. Anyway, ginger icons…I would go with Ann Margaret, who I think is killer. Then Jessica Rabbit, anyone who has a little sex appeal. There’s a drag queen who bases herself on Ginger Spice…you can have her. 

Any closing remarks?

Expect the unexpected. I’m ready to serve the children and make them eat it. Literally. I used to do a bit where I sang Big Spender while eating a bucket of chicken. It was the most grotesque thing you’d ever see; you may never eat fried chicken again. 

Venue: Main Theatre (Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre) 5-6th, 12-13th, 19-20th & 24-26th August. You can purchase tickets here

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