This week is a very big one for the drag based musical improv act Dragprov; the duo are having a grand opening on the west end at the Phoenix Arts Club in Soho with their show The Velvet Curtain Club. The location is set to be their new residence for this show and I couldn’t wait to hear all about it and decided to catch up with Christian Adore and Eaton Messe to find out more.
Hello tell us all about who you all are and a little bit about yourselves?
We’re Dragprov, a musical improv double act consisting of drag king Christian Adore (Francesca Forristal) and drag queen Eaton Messe (Ed Scrivens). We do songs, scenes, raps, even long form two-hander musicals. It’s good music, barrels of fun, and it’s got a lot of heart; you get to see the evolving relationship between these two characters (who themselves play characters – improvception!), and catch glimpses of the real friendship between the performers underneath.
How did the show come about?
We started Dragprov a couple of years ago now. We were both intrigued to try drag, and being experienced musical improvisors we were curious to see how we could bring improv into it. We did a spot at a friend’s cabaret night just to see how it went, and it took off from there! We did more and more spots around the place, and eventually ended up with our own show at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, and residencies in Oxford and at the West End’s Phoenix Arts Club.
How did your troupe form?
We came up through The Oxford Imps, so have been performing together for years. We both had leanings towards musical improv, and particularly games that draw on musical theatre – we’re very much the theatre kids who never grew out of it. We started playing together more and more, and the rest is herstory.
Tell us a little bit about the show that’s happening this week?
Thursday 11th April is the first time that our show ‘The Velvet Curtain Club’ will be in residence at its new home, the Phoenix Arts Club in Soho. We’re so excited it’s a little bit obscene! The Velvet Curtain Club is both an evening of Dragprov and a showcase for some of the best queer comedy talent on the scene, and we can’t wait to bring it to this iconic venue. This month we’ll be joined by the musical comedy stylings of a very special guest, Drag Idol winner Felix Le Freak!
What improv styles do you want to see more of this year and why?
Call us biased, but we love a good two-prov act, especially those that balance giddy fun with real character investment. It inspires us to continue exploring our own dynamic, so we’d love to slurp some more of that up. Also people don’t summon demons on stage like they used to, improv needs to re-embrace its occult beginnings.
What festivals are you guys planning on heading to this year?
We’ll be performing at Komedia during the Brighton Fringe, and we’re also plotting appearances at Edinburgh, Bristol…anywhere with sufficiently large makeup stocks.
It is April – the month of fools! What is the silliest character you have brought to a show and why?
There have been so many characters, and characters doing characters, it’s a bit difficult to decide. In recent times it’s probably a toss-up between Christian’s Faustian pizzeria owner who was known to the masses as Mr Pizza, and a living quill that Eaton played who would scribble out words with their tongue.
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting an improv troupe themselves?
Make fun the core of what you’re doing. If you’re having fun, genuine joyful fun, the people watching you are as well. When you’re getting stressed by organising shows, or trudging through a long and exhausting festival, that fun will carry you through.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching @dragprov, and you can take a gander at our website dragprov.com
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Ferociously fabulous silliness
QUICK FIRE ROUND
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Eaton once had a weird Scandinavian sweet that was like a stale butterscotch, but with a surprise centre of briny liquid. Do they hate their children or something?
If you could trade lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?
The cast of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. They’ve pretty much achieved our idea of musical comedy nirvana.
If you could paint anything what would you paint?
A big fancy boat with Christian at the helm and Eaton as the oddly alluring wooden woman on the prow.
What is the most delightful word you can think of?
The soundtrack to Legally Blonde: The Musical. As a single movement.
Who is your comedy hero and why?
Anna Mann (Colin Hoult). Incredible wit, musical comedy powerhouse, and arguably tickles the boundary of character comedy and drag. We’re big fans.
What is your favourite movie quote?
“Say crack again”
Who is your favourite cartoon character and why?
Mr Meeseeks (Rick and Morty). Existence is pain xoxo.