The Bareback Kings – INTERVIEW – Performing, Advice and The Future Of Comedy….

This month we are super excited to be going behind the scenes of the world of Drag Improv with two of the biggest acts on the scene – Dragprov and The Bareback Kings. Every week we are going to talk to both groups to find out just how much goes into creating a successful set of shows

march 2020

This afternoon, we talk to a troupe that is made up of Brent, Dirk, Gary and Seb or Francesca, Alice, Rebecca and Jules. The Bareback Kings were founded in 2017 and since then their popularity keeps on growing. They have performed in London, other parts of the UK and even New York. I haven’t yet had a chance to have a proper good catch up with the team so I was excited to be going behind the scenes.So what better way then diving right into shows, improv advice and lots more!


Hello! So lets start with this – you have managed to perform at some fantastic locations – what have been some of your favourite shows you have done and why?

Francesca: There have been so many! I think my personal favourites are Shambala festival, The Red Nose Danceathon and, very dear to my heart, the Chichester Festival Theatre. That is where I really started to become a more fully rounded performer and I had my first professional acting role as Chicky Poacher aged 14 in The Recruiting Officer. Then, aged 19, I took to the stage as Nancy in Oliver! It is a life goal of mine to perform there again in the not too distant future.

The Barebacks have also been lucky enough to play at some amazing nights and venues. Performing as part of DCM20 at the iconic Magnet Theater in New York was a dream come true, and united us with all of the original Barebacks who now live Stateside.

Closer to home, our sell-out Camden Fringe run of our first hour-long show last summer at the excellent Taproom was a real highlight. And we’ll always have love for the FA’s Cagematch night in De Beauvoir – we managed five weeks as champs back when the group had just formed in 2017, it was the perfect opportunity for us to experiment with our form, style and personas…not to mention giving us plenty of makeup practice!

We once performed on an inflatable barge thanks to Air Draft Festival and our pals Amorphous Horse. There are so many great nights on the scene now – we’ve had very happy times at Parent’s Basement (Bristol), Bella Cielo (Bath), Just Friends (The Canvas Cafe, E1) and of course the iconic institution that is Hoopla (The Miller).

bareback kings

Do you find being in drag give you a different sort of energy on stage to performing as yourself? What do you prefer?

Alice: Yes, definitely a different energy. Sometimes I think being a man you can be bigger and bolder without fear of judgement. But also the specific energy drag brings is anarchic and subversive and a little bit… sexual. I think constructing and deconstructing gender makes us all think about all the adjacent things like attraction, and doing it!!! Or is that just me…?

Sometimes it’s nice to just be myself though. It’s easier to know what I think as me, mostly.

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What has been some of the best advice you have ever been given about improv and comedy?

Rebecca: I did a stand up comedy course with Logan Murray when I first started in comedy and something that stuck with me is his advice to not to drink before a show. You always think you’re funnier than you are. I also think this is good advice because if you drink you’re numbing the nerves and so you never really learn how to be on stage comfortably. At least I found this to be true. You need to feel the nerves in order to eventually get past them. For improv, it’s “listen and react”. A lot of the time if improv is hard it is because you are in your head. If you are truly listening and reacting it can often feel more like a conversation you’d have down at the pub.

What are your plans for 2020?

Jules: Improve, improve, improve. Improv, improv, improv. Impro, impro, impro.

What would you like to see happen to comedy over the next ten years?

Francesca: Just a continuation of the momentum we have now really. People internalsing that they don’t need to punch down to be funny and really being creative and inclusive with their shows. Whether that means the venue being wheelchair accessible or content warnings etc. No-one is saying you can’t push boundaries, but at least give folk the choice to have that experience and most importantly – is it your stuff and/or are you good enough with a clear enough vision of message to handle it. It’s not unfunny to be conscious, it is unfunny to be cruel from a place of privilege. You can say what you want because of free speech, however that doesn’t mean people have to programme you or you are free from being challenged on it.

 

More from The Bareback Kings next week… 

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