Drag Kings of London

Recently there’s been a new wave of talented and creative drag kings appearing on the London cabaret circuit.

These performers are challenging heteronormativity. while entertaining audiences in all corners of the capital. It’s an exciting time for an art that dates back to the 1800’s. Don’t know them? Well, you should.
Meet: LoUis CYfer (Lucy), Benjamin Butch (Ben), Adam All (Jen), and Sammy Silver (Sally).
They told QX Cabaret all about themselves and their acts!

LoUis CYfer (Lucy)

“LoUis is a gender blending fallen angel, who brings entertainment to those who truly seek it. When his manhood was replaced with cous cous by ‘her upstairs’ he decided to leave heterosexual heaven and seek homosexual refuge in Soho. He has performed at the Admiral Duncan every Wednesday, and at venues across the UK (and America), since winning Drag Idol in 2014 – the only king to have ever done so. He charms audiences with his cheeky, flirty character and soulful vocals.

“His show is a tragic musical comedy that tells the tale of how he came to be in Soho; using songs that we all know and love, he enlightens us as to how he can’t find love, or a real job, hence why he had to become a drag king. He gets the audience up and involved, setting the mood so they can give him advice, and in return he gives them sambuca.”

Benjamin Butch (Ben)

“I’ve always enjoyed dancing and performing but never thought I’d be ‘allowed’ to perform as a male. Growing up as a dancer I was forced to wear leotards, skirts, and hair extensions. My first foray into drag was at The Glory, where I entered their Man Up! competition. I haven’t looked back since. I came up with the name Butch, as I was called ‘butch’ growing up, and it was always used in a negative way. I wanted to celebrate the term and deconstruct the negativity that’s attached to the word.

“Benjamin is a very flamboyant character, because well, what is butch? Dressed in Benjamin’s clothes for every day wear, I’d be labelled a butch woman. Dressed in Benjamin’s clothes for a performance – I’m labelled a twink. Benjamin is a tropical kinda guy, who wants to be like Mick Jagger but is more Mr Bean. He lip-syncs his way through adventures and stories, and performs regularly at Bar Wotever and Boi Box.”

Sammy Silver (Sally)

“For me, being a drag king means pushing the boundaries of gender. People see gender as so ‘black and white’ but of course it is so much more than that. As a non-binary performer, I try to always drop subtle messages in my performances about how gender is this wonderful, colourful spectrum.”

“Sammy began in Bath in May 2014 at university, where he was asked to perform as a drag king for an activist cabaret show. He wrote and sang a comedy song about biphobia and it went down a storm. Sammy is a sassy, queer little bear cub who loves to flirt and dance. Imagine Freddie Mercury crossed with George Michael crossed with Robert Downey Jr – Sammy is a combination of all these looks. He regularly performs at Bar Wotever, writes his own comedy lyrics, dances like a nutter and has a tight, tight…lip-sync. He’s not super masculine, nor super feminine. He’s a wonderful mix of the two.”

Adam All (Jen)

“Adam is a geeky, gentle, try-hard young lad about town, desperately exerting his own flavour of masculinity, but inevitably missing the mark. He has a louder-than-life dress sense and a nostalgic adoration of rock classics, and is a juxtaposition tied up with a bow…tie. Singing, rapping and the odd beatbox, partnered by Apple Derriéres, they smash out a narrative medley, clashing genres whilst colour coordinating, exploring gender and breaking boundaries.

“I’ve always loved drag; gay bars were a sanctuary for me after a difficult and very young coming out at school. Watching these magnificent performers was deeply inspiring. So it was that and, in 2000, when Tipping the Velvet was adapted for TV, that was the defining moment, and I knew what I wanted to be.”

“Adam was born in late 2004, just a young and rough-edged character frequenting bars, clubs and balls both at home in Southampton, and at uni near Manchester. Since then he has been gradually gaining pace, and now performs all over the UK. In London you can see Adam perform at She, The Glory, and Her Upstairs.”



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