This Saturday (30 March) is the second Flirtura party at the really rather funky Chelsea Pensioner on Fulham Road, Chelsea. The first party was a fantastic night and this weekend they have another amazing line-up of cabaret and performers including the time-travelling bear in feathers that is Doctor Woof, who Dave Cross had a catch up with.
Hello Doctor, can you describe Doctor Woof in one sentence?
A fierce, fun and phenomenal cabaret diva with lashings of ishnets, fur and feathers – 40% Hunk, 60% Lard, 100% Fabulous.
I first saw Doctor Woof in Drag Idol a few years ago, can you tell us your history leading up to that point?
Apart from a stint of shuffling about in the back row of the chorus in a handful of Am-dram musicals, this all started when I was asked to be in a parody of Doctor Who aka Doctor Woof which was filmed and premiered on a big screen at The Manchester Bear Bash. Truly cardboard acting on my part but it very quickly gained cult status amongst the Bears, so they did a second one, in which they asked me if I wanted to sing something on film. The clip of Doctor Woof singing Fever went viral amongst the Bear community and this is where the interest in having me perform live stemmed from. However as much as I loved singing I had a huge confidence issue and would get horribly nervous performing in public. Over a period of four years there were a handful of performances, mainly at Bear bars and events, but it was a very shy, nervous version of Doctor Woof they got. I would get so nervous that I couldn’t give it full welly and often went into hiding and stopped performing for sometimes six months as I didn’t think I was good enough.
So how did you unleash The Doctor?
I knew that if I was ever going to be able to release the inner diva, I would have to hide behind some sort of character as Andy wasn’t brave enough to do this without. The drag, the feathers, the sequins became the suite of armour which I could hide behind. I already had a name as Doctor Woof so that’s how the sci fi show queen was born. I had been spotted by the organisers of Cruise4Bears and offered a spot on one of their cruises on Royal Carribean. I had a year to prep for the performances on the cruise, so that’s when I started hitting the karaoke scene/open mics etc to get as much performance experience as possible. But still knew that I would have to do something drastic to get over myself so I entered Tavern’s Got Talent, took a risk, dressed up as a Cow (as you do) and sang something really sassy. It seemed to do the trick because much to my surprise I won. Titti La Camp was one of the judges and it was Titti who persuaded me to enter Drag Idol that year.
And what has happened since then?
It was a bit like being carried along by a tidal wave. A lot of things happened in succession. It was getting pretty close to the cruise and I had a ton of new material that I needed to try out so I used Drag Idol to give me that practice and stage time. I got much further than I had ever dreamed of, I reached the Semi Final which was in Eden Bar in Birmingham, from which I took a cab to Birmingham airport at 2am with my suitcases and flew straight to Barcelona for the cruise. These performances were pretty high profile and there were audience members present who were organisers of different events around Europe, so this led to more invites to international events. I have performed all over Europe, with the London Gay Big Band, done the Edinburgh Fringe, and loads more extraordinary venues.
I’ve seen you dressed in feathers, lots of glitter and various costumes including the cow… is there such a thing as a ‘typical’ Doctor Woof show and what does it contain?
One of the good things about playing a Time Lord is that I can take the audience to different times and dimensions. Of course a little artistic licence comes into play as this Time Lord is also a shape shifter. Essentially Doctor Woof is an unashamed show queen, you will get anything from Chicago to Rocky Horror, with some Eurovison, jazz, comedy numbers chucked in for good measure. The Doctor isn’t big on patter, preferring to tell stories through the narrative of the songs instead. Anything goes, but always sassy.
This Saturday you are appearing at Flirtura, are you looking forward to that?
Most definitely, it is such a great venue and such a great line-up. I’m really proud to be a part of this brand new LGBTQ+ night.
Any clues as to what we might expect?
The Doctor will be serving!
What else is coming up for Doctor Woof?
Three big and very different events. 5 April, I’m returning to perform at Maspalomas Bear Carnival for the 5th year running with a Viking themed show called Viva Valhalla. I am producing and hosting the very first Drag-o-vision Song Contest at The RVT on 15 May with profits going to Cancer is a Drag and on 31 May, I’m very excited to appear as the prologue to Aletia Upstairs’s A Queer Love of Dix.