The London cabaret stalwart talks traditional drag, Bucks Fizz and having the flu!
“I haven’t been up here for twenty years.” Mrs Moore says as she bounds through the doors of Her Upstairs. Back then, it was a straight bar called WKD, but today it’s made its name as a creatively daring cabaret bar run by Meth and her gang of drag miscreants. Mrs Moore is here to do our Valentines cover, despite a mild case of the lurgy (“Tanya Hyde’s to blame, she always is.”). We had a quick chinwag with her as he layered on the slap in Meth’s dressing room to talk about her near-two-decade stint on the stage!
When did you start doing drag?
It started when I was 9 when Bucks Fizz won Eurovision when I pretended to be Cheryl Baker – that was my party piece. My Aunty Joyce made me this tiny Velcro skirt out of handkerchiefs. I’ve always been a show off, and it’s all Cheryl Baker’s fault!
Have you met her since?
Oh yes, several times, she’s fabulous. I tell her ‘I used to be you when I was 9!’. Which she loved, of course. I remember DJing at a party where she was also performing and teaching people the routine to Making Your Mind Up. That was one of those more surreal moments for me as I’d been doing that routine since I was little.
So, when was Mrs Moore born?
Well, I used to DJ at The Black Cap for 18 years, which I always say you get less for murder! Regina Fong invited me to join Dolly Mixtures for one of their New Year shows in…. 2001. I did a few bits with those, and then in 2007 I started doing every Wednesday with MMTV, which was Mrs Moore’s Trans Vision, which I’ve since changed to Theatre Vision! It’s only in the past five years that I’ve been doing it properly and going up and down the country. I was doing bits and bobs before, but it got to the stage where I either had to fully commit or give it all up to take a reflexology course, which I still tell myself I’m going to do one day!
Who else is she inspired by?
Mrs Moore is just an extension of me really, I’m not one of those queens who turns into a completely different character.
But you can say more and get away with stuff you wouldn’t be able to otherwise?
Oh yeah! I’m not necessarily ruder, just a lot more tongue-in-cheek really. People don’t feel so threatened when you’re in a dress.
Apart from the bars, where else do you perform?
Ladies’ Nights are always fun, trying to sort out the raffle while there’s a man with an enormous cock banging it on the side to get hard! I like little Prides as well, singing on the back of a van. I’m also looking forward to losing my Gran Canaria virginity this year, as I’m doing a pool party over there, which I’m sure will be fun!
Do you think it’s fair to say your drag is a bit more traditional?
Yeah, I’m a bit more old-school in that regard.
What do you notice about the new generation of drag queens coming through?
Well, drag comes in many forms. I think RuPaul’s Drag Race has been brilliant in bringing it into the mainstream, but the only bad thing is there are a lot of people who think that’s all that drag is. Yes you look amazing, but can you do 2 hours in a pub that isn’t very busy in the middle of the week and still hold their interest? There’s lots of drag that isn’t included in the show, but otherwise, I think what it’s done is great.
Have you seen stuff go in and out of fashion since you started?
I think the miming and lip-syncing side went away for a bit, with more people singing live instead. But with the resurgence of Drag Idol and Drag Race, it’s definitely more common now. You can really be a lot more creative with it now with all the software that’s about, editing all the sound effects and film clips together. It’s good to see it come back more, as it all started out in the beginning with drag queens miming to records. It’s certainly how I started out with Regina at The Black Cap all those years ago.
Is there anything you’d like to try more of in the future?
Ooh I don’t know…I could try it sober one day! I’m just going to enjoy it while it’s still happening. Perhaps more acting as well. I’ve really enjoyed doing Golden Girls at the Brewers, learning a script again. But I’m not too fussed. If you’d have told me 20 years ago, or aged 9 dressed as Cheryl Baker, that I’d be doing it for a living, I’d have bitten your hand off!
What do you think you can pass on to the next batch of queens?
Never stop learning or let yourself get complacent, no matter how much you think you know the crowd. Also do your own thing and don’t copy anyone else. But most importantly, if you want to do it, just do it. It doesn’t happen overnight, but I wouldn’t change where I am now for the world. I’d change this face though!
You can catch Mrs Moore every Monday at Two Brewers for Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo, every Saturday at 3pm at Halfway 2 Heaven, or as Sofia in the Golden Girls musical at Two Brewers between Tuesday 13th and Friday 15th February