This weekend the Royal Vauxhall Tavern will be bathed in a spiritual light as the holy mother of cabaret, Virgin Xtravaganzah ascends to the hallowed stage at Sunday Social. Dave Cross assumed the position and asked some deep theological questions to Drew Caiden, the force behind the divine mother.
Hi Drew, for those who have never ‘had the experience’, how would you describe Virgin Xtravaganzah?
She’s the Virgin Mary in the form of a moustachioed drag queen with a valley girl accent, a ditzy charm, surprising depth (for a virgin), and a terrible sense of humour.
How did she come about?
She was birthed from the repression of being a queer-identifying youth who was forced to go to Catholic school during childhood and growing up in small town conservative America. That will do it to ya.
How has she and the act evolved over the past few years?
Well she definitely looks better now than she did when she started! Beyond that, her character has stayed fairly consistent. I think the writing in my song parodies has become more political than it used to be, but I always lace everything with comedy because if you can’t laugh at life and God then what’s the point in living?
Religion is obviously an important aspect of the act, and yet we live in a world where religious intolerance seems to be growing, what do you make of what’s happening in your home country at the moment?
America is an extremely confusing place built on a lot of fear, ignorance, toxic masculinity, racism and misguided faith, amongst many other things. Growing up there, I was conditioned to fear Muslims, and pretty much any faith outside of Christianity. Thank God people are now starting to become aware of this conditioning. However, as with all progress, there will be a backlash from those who don’t want to change/evolve – this is how Trump is where he is now. He’s the product of America’s pre-conditioned fear and unwillingness to evolve to a more empathetic, tolerant and intelligent society. I’d like to say I have faith we will get there someday though.
Putting aside the horror, is Trump a comedy gift?
Not really. The whole thing is a nightmare to be honest.
We know you have played the Royal Vauxhall Tavern before, what does it mean to you?
It’s always an honour to play at the RVT and especially curate a semi regular show there, with The Xtravaganzahs. To perform on that iconic stage is both incredibly exciting and humbling. Everyone who works there is fabulous and so supportive too, it’s by far one of my favourite places to work in London.
And are you excited to be at Sunday Social?
The crowd there there love comedy but they also love a sing-along, will you be adding in any special songs for Sunday?
I have a few little ideas up my sleeve…
Finally, what are Virgin’s plans for Christmas and New Year’s Eve?
OK, here goes: Virgin Xtravaganzah’s Unholy Night will be at the Soho Theatre on 21 and 22 December – it’s my new Christmas solo show. Virgin Xtravaganzah’s Xmas Grotto at the Glory on the 17 December, part of my monthly Sunday residency there called Bible Bash. I’m hosting the cabaret stage at Torture Garden’s Christmas show on the 9th, and Not New Years show on the 30th. And at BEEFMINCE on New Year’s Eve at the RVT I’ll be performing alongside Tracy Barlow. #BusyAFwithChrist! #MARYxmas!