Thursday, May 10, 2007

Panti's Shoes

Twink? Anna-Nicole Smith? Dolly Parton? er...Anne Doyle?...and Catherine Nevin? The roll call for the School of Wardrobe Hell, you're thinking. Well, close. But a closer answer still would be the dramatis personae of a new show from pioneering Dublin drag queen, Panti.

This is her here...


Panti's show In These Shoes? will be one of the highlight of this year's Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, which has already kicked off.

Panti (the alter ego of Rory O'Neill, one of the producers of the Alternative Miss Ireland and former Tokyo drag scenester "That was fun!") has created her own show, "a kind of lecture with lots of slides and video" in which the self-styled "queen of Ireland" explores the many women who have influenced her.

"With my drag character, her style is quite conversational," says Rory, who has taken over interviewing duties from Panti. "It comes very naturally to do something where she chats and tell stories. Nowadays it's all about the PowerPoint and it is funny to mix that with drag. I guess this isn't a typical drag show..."

The show, which is directed by Phillip McMahon 50% of the brains behind Danny and Chantelle, deals with the sort of women who have always fascinated Rory. And Panti. "Women who appear to be fake, but are actually real women. They all have a very strong visual image, but we know behind the image there is someone real. It's like a good drag queen, someone who has created their own surface, but you can see that they exist in the real world."

This type of woman, Rory explain, is clearly distinct from Paris Hilton "...she is all front and no reality. Whereas with Twink, you can always see Adele King in there. Paris Hilton doesn't have the depth, or the talent to be interesting at all. I'm always more interested in people with real talent.."

Which doesn't quite explain what Anne Doyle and, even more unexpectedly, Catherine Nevin are doing in this gang?

"Well, how many women have been tried for murder over the last 25 years in Ireland? And yet she is the only one that people remember. She is the one who people have become fascinated with, her hair, her nails too well done, just too well-dressed. If you are a murderer, well, people want you to look dowdy."

"And Anne Doyle has changed her appearance so slowly that people don't remember that she started out as a kind of raven-haired beauty on the TV. That's what I remember her as when I was young. But she has changed so subtly people don't even notice. In her case, it is just staying around long enough that's done the trick; she doesn't really need to say anything."

And Panti's own tips for the DGTF (besides using the wares of her sponsor, Make Up Forever)? "I will try and go see some stuff, but when I'm on every night, it's not easy. But The Gaydar Diaries is one show everyone seems to be talking about. And Pageant the Musical, which is all drag, so I better support that."


More of Panti miming like a lula on lulatube

Festival info: http://www.gaytheatre.ie

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