Felix Le Freak is the winner of Drag Idol 2018, mixing up original songs, brilliantly personal observational comedy, razor sharp lip sync and more. Felix is now working his way around all 19 Drag Idol venues, starting last week at his home bar of Halfway II Heaven. This week he’s at the Two Brewers and the Old Ship. Dave Cross had a quick chin wag with the champ.
Hi Felix, congratulations on winning Drag Idol 2018, how has it been since the Final?
The past month has been incredible. Thanks to my newfound fame I’ve been cutting ribbons all over the place: the Peruvian Embassy, several prominent saunas, even a Morrisons local. I keep finding little shreds of ribbon in my shoes. It’s really quite a nuisance if I’m honest. Thanks for asking though.
The route to the Final and winning wasn’t totally smooth for you; you were runner up in a semi and then won the wild card…
I certainly didn’t weave a straight path to the final. I believe I’ve performed 15 times over the past two years if you add up heats, heat finals, semis, wild card events and the rest. I’ve qualified as a semi-finalist three times. Frankly I’m surprised Drag Idol didn’t take out a restraining order before I finally clawed my way – kicking, screaming and drenched in unidentified fluids – to the crown. At the Grand Final, the audience joined in the lyrics of my final original number and knowing I had written something catchy enough to stick in people’s heads was a huge reward. I didn’t expect to be taking home the title that night so the win was really just a fuck ton of cherries on an already delicious cake.
What does it mean for you to represent Halfway II Heaven?
I could not have asked for a more supportive venue than Halfway to Heaven. Heather and the whole team have been so incredibly kind to me throughout. I definitely had some misconceptions about the fact that I was an ‘alternative’ queen and wouldn’t be as well received in what I saw as more ‘traditional’ venues. Boy, was I wrong. The reception I’ve had at Halfway from the team and punters have been among the warmest I’ve had anywhere. I was beyond flattered that many of the regulars made the pilgrimage south of the river to cheer me on in the final. Some of them even gave me rim jobs.
How was performing in Trafalgar Square at Pride in London?
Epic, ridiculous and a bit overwhelming. I flung myself around the stage like a woman possessed and emptied a packet of crisps and glitter over my head. I’m not exactly sure what it meant but I’m fairly sure I was channelling my ancestors to give humanity a warning about an impending apocalypse.
Can you talk about how the act has evolved over the last year?
For me, drag is cabaret and cabaret is theatre and ultimately it’s all about storytelling. When I started performing, I didn’t have the confidence to tell stories by singing live and actually cried on stage the first time I tried. When I’m creating lip-sync numbers, I chop up songs and spoken word to create a narrative and I really enjoy the editing process. It’s very similar to musical composition. I prefer to think about the story I want to tell or the emotion I want people to feel whether it be lip-sync or live.
One of your songs talks about a young teenage Felix being in love with a poster of Legolas, what were you like as a kid?
I was a camp, exuberant handful. I loved school, I was always putting on plays and I never shut up. My pride and joy was my dressing up box. I loved dresses, glitter, bright colours and any of my mum’s castoffs from the 1980s. It was a really happy time. Secondary school wasn’t so easy. I was bullied really badly for being effeminate and nerdy and I became a lot more introverted, anxious and self-loathing as well as pessimistic about others. I think a lot of that stays with you but queer cabaret is a really wonderful space to work through those feelings and share moments that are relatable to other LGBTQ people.
How did you get into performing?
I was a huge theatre geek at school and I tried my hand on film sets and in TV production and eventually ended up working as a casting agent, but I couldn’t really keep my head focused in anything other than theatre-making. I entered an amateur drag contest on a total whim after a bad breakup about 18 months ago. I thought it would be cathartic to do a little dressing up and stomping around, but what I discovered was this whole, seething underworld of rich, exciting queer cabaret and I’m yet to look back.
You are starting your Drag Idol winner’s ‘tour’ – what can we expect?
The victory tour hath begun! As I visit the districts you can expect political defiance, icy scowls and outfits that burst into flame as I spin around and death drop. In reality, I shall be lugging my piano around the country along with my ironing board, my wind machine, a sledgehammer, a stuffed fox and other assorted paraphernalia. The theme of the full show is love, queer dating and heartbreak with a sprinkling of freaky rebellion and a championing of nonconformity. I hope there will be something for everyone. Except Piers Morgan, the absolute twunt!
What are your dreams and aims for the next few years?
The main goal is just to maintain a living as an entertainer and to create a full show worthy of the fringe festival circuit and a proper theatre venue. I really want to build on my comedy, write more songs and maybe record a few and make some amusing music videos for them. I’d also like to meet a vers top ex-smoking vegan Taurus bass-guitarist-cum-carpenter who owns land and a pair of eyes I can literally swim in. Failing that, I’ll settle for a Calippo.