The Bareback Kings – INTERVIEW – Primark Summer In Ibiza…

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. Today we


Tell us about yourself and three unknown facts?

Alice: Three unknown facts about me are that I was in a dance show a couple of years ago and am therefore technically a professional dancer, I speak decent Italian and I profoundly love Gillian Anderson.

How did you get into improv?

Rebecca: I’m from Canada, where improv grows on trees, so you would think my improv journey would have started there but nope. I moved to London in 2010 and about a year later started taking improv classes at the Spontaneity Shop. I loved it so much I continued on to Monkey Toast and the Free Association. It’s something I wanted to do since high school but the opportunities were scarce in my small hometown.

 

 

What are some of your earliest memories of your early improv performances?

Jules: I’m terrible at recalling entire shows, but certain memorable scenes and moments from my 16 years of improv have stayed with me. My first improv gigs were as a member of The Oxford Imps at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004. I remember feeling so pumped after my first show that my stomach muscles ached. And I remember the final show of the Fringe that year was performed to two audience members, who just so happened to be my parents. It was a very silly, very fun show.

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How did you discover the world of drag?

Francesca: My Mum, whilst not a performer, was always very theatrical and used to tell anyone who’d listen that she loved drag queens. So that positive association always floated around in my psyche. Then when Rupaul’s drag race became well known, I was having a tough time personally and one of my friends showed me some clips on YouTube. It was one of the only things that gave me a little respite from the fug.

As my politics have grown, I soon saw how far they had to go to address their attitude to diversity and their representation of certain groups. However, at the same time I was being exposed to more and more pockets of the UK scene. It was through a radio show & then a podcast I used to create with Hollie Would, that I met a wide array of talented pillars of the drag community. Particularly Adam All, who told me about Man Up and then I had to apply.

 

 

What was the time when you decided to start doing drag yourself?

Alice: We kind of collectively decided to start doing drag. It was after a gig one night and I think we were a bit tired of seeing another mediocre all-man comedy line-up and thought, why don’t we do that?! They seem to be getting most of the gigs, so let’s usurp them!!

 

 

Tell us about how you first decided to incorporate it into improv?

Rebecca: It was after that same gig. We were cracking jokes about what the name could be and came up with The Bareback Kings that night. We then had some initial rehearsals where we did some improv character building exercises and workshopped our personas.

 

Do you remember your first show you did with drag? How were you feeling beforehand and how did the show go?

Jules: My first drag show was as Gary. It was The Bareback King’s first ever gig, at Duck Duck Goose, as part of the wonderful Zeal festival. I felt so excited beforehand, a little nervous, but mostly eager to get onstage and perform our opening dance routine! The DDG crowd are always the most supportive audience who are so open to anything and love to laugh. Who could ask for a better group of people to perform to?! The opening number suffered some technical difficulties but the show was really fun!

 

 

How long does it take to get into character? How long does the makeup take to do?

Francesca: It really depends. I can do an acceptable job in 30 mins however if I am doing something more thematic or stylised and I really want to take time of making my contour very detailed, it can be 45 mins to an hour. However we all have very different processes as Kings. I am starting to experiment outside of the hyper-masculinity of Brent and am trying on some different and more colourful make-up looks.

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What inspired your personas?

Alice: I can’t speak for all the lads but I have to admit for me and my character Seb, it was partly revenge. I chose to be a posh, rich, straight, white man. I wanted to have all the privilege and self-belief that goes with that. I was the dickhead that had screwed me over plenty of times. Seb was also blythely lacking in awareness at first. But he grew as a character because you can’t do something just for revenge; you have to find a bit of love for them. And inevitably I am a part of him, and he is a part of me. So now he’s slightly less of a douchebag, but still kind of a douchebag.

 

 

Also, how long does it take remove all the makeup?

Rebecca: Oh! We have become very efficient at this. Usually one of us carries some toner or wipes to share and we remove our alter-egos in one fell swoop. We have found a few eco-friendly options. My favourite, some micellar water and a reusable cotton pad. It takes me all of two minutes.

 

 

Do you make your own outfits or do you buy them? Do you have a particular style you aim to stay with?

Jules: I would describe Gary’s style as Primark Summer In Ibiza.

 

More from The Bareback Kings next week… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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