It is festival season and that means that in the next month there is so many great comedy festivals to look forward to! This month we are talking to acts performing at an array of festivals to find out more about their sets and what they have planned for their shows. Today we look at a group that mix improv and drag together to create something unique and fun – welcome to the world of Christian Adore and Eaton Messe and Dragprov Revue.

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 12.15.37Name Of Show: Dragprov Revue

Time: 22:00

Date: August 2nd-13th, 15th-26th

Location:  Sweet Novotel – Novotel 1 (Venue 188)


 

 

Hello! Tell us about Christian Adore and Eaton Messe?

Hello! Christian Adore and Eaton Messe are a drag king and queen double act which make up ‘The Dragprov Revue’. We like the think of ourselves as the gorgeous love-child of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Whose-Line-Is-It-Anyway… like if Improv broke into drag’s wardrobe and tried on all the pretty things. We take suggestions from the audience, and improvise a musical cabaret of songs, skits and freestyle raps.

How did you come up with the name of your show that you’re taking to the Fringe?

Our show title, the ‘Dragprov Revue’ developed naturally as a fusion of Drag and Improv. We started by wanting to make a ‘two-prov’ show, and very quickly our pun muscles kicked in, and decided to make it a ‘dragprov’ instead. Say what ya see. A comedy “Revue” has always been a satirical, light theatrical entertainment made up of short sketches, songs and dances, so we thought it would be funny to play on that as a genre.

 

 

Tell us a little bit about your style of improv?

Listening to each other is the staple of our improv. We are on stage to make the other person look funny, and you can’t do that without listening to every tiny detail they say. Sometimes that means we jokingly pick one another apart on stage for a thoughtless comment, but it’s this attention to detail that leads to really rich worlds, scenes, emotional exchanges, and honest character work.

Our improv is musical and scene based, but rooted in rich, three dimensional characters and the relationships between them. We should (and do) always know how our characters would react, as if it were our own skins.

Our style is also witty and playful, with a LOT of sass and banter, drawing on the traditional cutting tongue for which so many drag queens are known. It’s essentially two friends who find each other funny on stage; we occasionally allow the slippage between character and our real selves (and real friendship) to show. Audiences really enjoy the authenticity.

We try to break down preconceptions about drag; we are wholesome and just love the craft. No bawd. No sex. Just comedy, character relationships, and a lot of sass.

 

What will your set be about?

At its heart, Dragprov is about the co-dependent relationship between a hopelessly romantic drag king and a sharp tongued, diva-aspiring drag queen. There are songs and skits and raps improvised along the way, which will change every time, but it is the intense back-and-forth between Christian and Eaton that brings the show to life. Will they manage to become stars, as they so desperately hope for? And will their relationship survive the journey?

 

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?

 Improv at the Fringe is bigger than ever, so we’re looking forward to getting stuck in and watching both new and familiar faces get up to their hijinks. In terms of particular shows we’re looking forward to, Rachel Parris is a favourite of ours, and this year she’s hosting a musical comedy cabaret for just three nights at the Pleasance Dome. The show will feature her own material as well as guests from across the Fringe and cabaret circuit, so as musical comedians ourselves we’re pretty pumped!

We will also keep our eyes peeled for the fabulous Glenda J collective; we saw this incredible female group two years running, and they had the audience in stitches with their wit and musical skill.

 

 Have you done the fringe before? What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?

Chesca – We have done the fringe for 6 years, in different projects. I first went as an excitable 17 year old doing a devised bouffant and physical theatre piece… it was dire, and very very thespy. We have both been to Edinburgh for 6 and 4 years respectively with the Oxford Imps at the Gilded Balloon, and have been in various side projects such as Whose Life Is It Anway (an improvised comedy podcast) at Just the Tonic. 

One of our favourite shows to date was easily ‘Anna Mann: A Sketch Show for Depressives’. Coulin Hoult’s character – for me (Chesca) – is a fantastic example of our approach to drag and comedy, in that the laughs come from the cracking jokes, witty audience repartee, and dark sense of humour, rather than because he is simply “a man in a dress”. The drag is just a vehicle for the masterful character comedy that emerges. Hoult was certain a big inspiration for the show.

 The Story Beast (John Henry Falle of sketch troupe The Beta Males) was another incredible act. His energy and absurdist humour had me from the off. This dude put so much exertion into his set that he genuinely needed to use a towel to dry down between bits. Following ‘Beowulf’, Falle’s bedraggled Beast (picture a… hoarse, posh Hagrid?) masterfully weaved his way through twisted Celtic folk songs, Grimm fairytales of flowery women, and Noddy-like toy towns peopled by cabbage patch characters. I didn’t stop laughing for a second.

 

Ed: When I first came to perform at the Fringe in 2012, I was dizzied by the number and variety of shows on offer. I don’t think anyone ever really gets over that! I decided to try and see as broad a range of shows as I could, which is how I ended up stood in Old College quad watching Biuro Podróży’s ‘Macbeth: Who is that Bloodied Man?’. It was a visually stunning, almost nightmarish retelling of the Scottish play through physical theatre, complete with ghoulish veiled witches who loomed over the audience on stilts. Shakespeare’s text was almost completely stripped away, which probably confused some and outraged others, but together with intense performances and an amazing set I found it really affecting. It was dark and disturbing and otherworldly and I LOVED it!

But back in comedy land, a big highlight for me in recent years was Joseph Morpurgo’s ‘Hammerhead’. Morpurgo is a great improviser as anyone who’s seen Autentatious will attest, and is an old imp himself (we’ve been fortunate enough to do workshops with him), but this piece of character comedy was an absolute tour de force. The show took the form of a Q&A following a one man, nine-hour performance of Frankenstein, in which members of the audience engaged by asking designated questions at particular points. Through this we were able to participate in the meltdown of a character desperately trying to find artistic validation  before having to clear the space for ‘Samuel Beckett: The DJ Experience’. It was witty, surreal, and touching in equal measure, something deeply inspiring to us in creating our own show.

 

Some acts have already tried it and done shows in the environment but do you think virtual reality has a space to be used in improv and what other modern technologies do you think could alter the way we interact and watch improv? 

 Virtual reality could be cool if it would allow people to remotely access the live feeling of an improv set, but as for adding it to live shows? No. We are a little old school. No gimmicks or live voting or suggestion giving via phones. We’ve been part of shows that experimented with audience voting and taking suggestions using a live poll, and engaging with the show in various ways using technology. This led to some cool moments, and pretty dazzling feats of justification when the technology decided not to work, but fundamentally we felt that a barrier was created between audience and artist. We prefer to engage fully with people, look them in the eyes, and make them giggle as friends would.

 

What have been some of the most unique and different improv sets you have seen this year and why?

Jinni Lyons (@comedyfoodgirl) was a refreshing improviser who multiroles all the characters in her solo solo which we saw at the Miller in London. She was unique in that her pacing was extremely measured, and the fact that there was only one person on stage gave each scene the breathing space and a sense of calm which improv scenes often need, but rarely get due to the melting pot of excited ideas bred by too many cooks! A must see. Very accomplished work.

 

If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?

Instagram: @dragprovrevue
website: www.dragprov.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/DragprovRevue/

 

And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show? 

Drag. And. Improv.

 

ED FRINGE QUICK FIRE ROUND

 

Best thing about performing at the Fringe?

The frequency of gigs is immense for flexing improv muscles and honing skills, and you can immerse yourself in a community of performers.

 

The most challenging thing about performing at the Fringe? 

The frequency of gigs will ruin our skin because drag makeup is thick… we will need a very rigorous skin regime.

Also the hills. God we hate the hills.

 

What three items are essential for a successful Fringe? 

Christian Adore. Eaton Messe. A ticket to their show.

Failing this, determination, a sense of fun, and a towel. We really can’t stress the last one enough.

 

What’s the secret to successful flyering? 

ACTUALLY TALK TO PEOPLE

 

What are the best venues at the fringe?

 Pleasance courtyard because of the garden and great line-ups. Voodoo rooms is sexy because of all the velvet. Sweet Venues Novotel… no reason we just hear they have great shows.

{ Cover Photo Credit – Cwrc Photography}

Can’t make it to the Edinburgh Fringe? Never fear, Dragprov Revue are doing a preview show at The Miller on 16th July – more information can be found here