HAIL MYRA!

There are few things better for the gay soul than a good old Sunday afternoon of cabaret. It’s been a tradition of the London gay cabaret circuit for years. And like all good things, the list of performers and venues joining that elite clan continue to grow. The latest one being Manbar, who, this week, launch their Sunday School with Myra Dubois.
Jason found out more from the haughty, high-haired one this week… 

 

Hey Myra, we haven’t spoken in a while. What have you been up to? Howwas your summer?

It was a wonderful summer wasn’t it? The weather was glorious and I got to spend the majority of it at London Zoo for their Zoo Late events!

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I bet that was a scream… 

Well, here’s a true story; I shared my dressing room with two meerkats. They lived in a perspex cage because their parents had rejected them. A Squirrel from Regents Park got in one day and they tore it to bits. I had a lot of time for those meerkats. Did you know a group of meerkats is called a “mob”, “gang” or “clan”? Like the Scottish. Which reminds me, I was also at the Edinburgh Fringe throughout August, which was just terrific too.

So, looking ahead to autumn, and a new residency at Manbar. Tell us about your Sunday School? 

There’s something about a cabaret show on a Sunday that just feels right isn’t there? When I was still working as a barmaid back in Yorkshire, Sunday was always the busiest day in the club. Families would, and still do, venture out en masse after their roasts to see a questionably named tribute band (my favourite was ‘Bat Out Of Hull’) and Sunday remains the busiest day in many a cabaret venues week. With Sunday School I want to carry on that tradition whilst offering something a little different.

“We’re certainly taking our cues from the traditional Sunday School construct. I mean what is church if not theatre?”

I’m guessing it’ll be a lot more irreverent than your bog standard Sunday school though, right? 

Less of the ‘irreverent’ thank-you-very-much, bit of respect for The Lord, please. We’re certainly taking our cues from the traditional Sunday School construct. I mean what is church if not theatre? Those priests have to come up with an hour of new material each week and they have some wonderful frocks. I’m a fan of the more catholic, Old Testament approach to religion myself. All fire and brimstone with an unforgiving God. The New Testament is good too, but God’s a bit more relaxed in that book. But then again he’d had Jesus hadn’t he? But yes, back to Sunday School. We’ll be having hymns (of a sort), I’ll be preaching sermons (of a fashion) and we’ll have a collection for a different charity each month. Let’s fix the church roof that is society!

And special guests every week…

Indeed, I’ll be inviting down people you don’t usually see on the gay scene. Variety is, after all, the spice of life! They’ll be no woman-of-a-certain-age wheeled out from the 90s to sing house music, I can tell you that much. We’ll be having burlesque, magicians, dancers and singers. The first week we have the wonderful Dream Bears gracing the stage and go-go poles. I thought they were a fun variation on the usual gogo boys they have at Manbar. Beautiful as those muscle boys are, who doesn’t love a hairy paunch in sequins?

Your sparkling new slot is part of Manbar’s new venture into cabaret. Convince us why we should swap our Sunday sofas for Sunday School? 

Would it be naff to say ‘what good is sitting alone in your room’? It would wouldn’t it? And a lot of your readers probably aren’t alone. They probably have loved ones, friends and families. I shouldn’t judge them by my lonely standards. Get off your backsides, bring your boyfriends, girlfriends, mistresses and friends down to keep an old hoofer like me company. Rescue me from my perpetual lonely hell.

Fantastic! You’re a true variety act, Myra. Entertaining audiences with your quick-witted stand up and observational comedy, ‘unique’ vocal ability and finely honed magic tricks, but which of the three is the most gratifying to perform and why? 

Excuse me? ‘Unique vocal ability’? They sound like carefully selected words. I’ll have you know when I was in Oliver (he didn’t object) I was taken out of the chorus because my voice wouldn’t harmonise with the rest of the cast. My favourite thing to do is sing. I think the best thing to do is point my voice towards the end of a song and just go for it.

Finally, it’s been a tiring start to the week at QX Towers, can you tell us your current favourite gag to put a smile on our party-withered faces… 

“Did you hear about the cannibal that ate his girlfriend? He dumped her soon after.” A homeless man told me that in a pub.

 

• Myra Dubois holds her Sunday School at Manbar, 79 Charing Cross Road, Soho, WC2H 0NE every Sunday from 6-11pm. Free entry and selected £3 drinks. 

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