Rotherham’s finest export since Paul Shane, Myra Dubois, is one of the fastest rising and sought after cabaret artists around right now.
She holds a successful residency at London’s legendary Royal Vauxhall Tavern and has been nominated for both ‘Best Drag’ and ‘Best Host’ in the upcoming London Cabaret Awards. There’s not a lot that this Yorkshire lass can’t turn her hand to. She acts, tells gags, does magic, sings, hosts, DJ’s and pulls the best pint of mild this side of the Watford Gap. Cabaret aficionado, Jason Reid, caught up with Myra, over a cuppa this week, to discuss everything from showbiz to Starbucks…
Jason: Great to see you, Myra. You’ve really been lighting up the London cabaret scene recently. What could ‘Joe public’ expect if they pitched up to a typical show of yours?
Myra: It depends, Jason. If you were to come and see me at the Cellar Door then it’d be myself and a pianist, usually the long suffering and classically trained Sarah. I’ll wear my best frock and we’ll roll out the hits whilst drinking fancy cocktails. It’s rather like what ‘Talk of the Town’ must have been like in it’s heyday, where you’d have found Judy Garland or Ethel Merman belting the hits. Except Cellar Door is a converted toilet that Joe Orton used to fornicate in. Sometimes I’m hosting a pub quiz, sometimes I’m performing magic tricks, sometimes I’ll have my sidekick Edward with me. My shows are extremely fluid (and in a roundabout way, I’m calling your question vague, Jason) but at any particular performance you could expect warmth, friendliness and the opportunity to block out, just for an hour, all the mundane banalities of day to day life. That’s certainly what I’m doing on the stage.
Do you have a pre show routine?
And post show?
(laughs) I’m sensing a theme. It sounds like a good routine to me. You come across onstage as someone who is naturally comedic. How much of what goes into your show is improvised and how much scripted?
I’d say it’s a 50/50 split. It has to be. You can’t bore an audience with inane ramblings that go nowhere (actually, you can and I have) but you have to keep it fresh and relevant to the people in that room and that particular time with you in that moment. It’s important to mix both.
You took your show, ‘Auntie Myra’s Fun Show’, to this years Edinburgh Fringe. How was that?
Gruelling but satisfying. Like anything worth doing.
Something you’d like to do again?
Yes, I’m currently working on the show I’m taking up to Edinburgh in 2013. So ‘watch this space’, as they say.
In that particular show you shared the stage with a sidekick, called Edward. How did you two get together?
Our eyes met over a second hand stall in Chesterfield market in the late 90s. He didn’t actually join me on stage till 2011, he’d been living in the attic before then.
Will we see more of Edward in future shows?
We’re currently working on a number together but I won’t allow him to black up. We’ll see how it goes.
Presently you hold a weekly residency at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Tell us a bit about that.We’ve opened up the stage for acts to come and have a go at entertaining us. Some are car crashes, some are glorious. I go on in-between the acts to give opinions and do a few turns myself. Each week we have a ‘headline’ act, someone who’s been working a while to guarantee a bit of quality for the audience.
Looking ahead, you’re about to star in this years Royal Vauxhall Tavern panto. How did you get involved and who will you be playing?
I wound up starring in it because I have done for the past two years. In the first I played the Scrooge character, in ‘Screwege!’, then I played the Sheriff in ‘Robyn Hood’. This year I’m playing the witch in ‘Comatose Beauty’. I believe I’ve been type-cast. No doubt the script will have to be binned and I’ll make it up as I go along on stage. I’m a martyr to my craft.
Sounds like a lot of fun! I’ve always wondered; are you modelled on anybody specific or are you just a generic northern lass?.
Like anyone I’m modelled by the family that raised me and the people I’ve encountered along the way. I’ve been torn apart by former lovers and patched up by close friends. I’m the rag doll we all are, made up of the scraps of fabric handed to us by Life. That sounded rather poetic didn’t it?
Tell me something about you that not many people know.
I have a freckle in an extremely intimate region. Not many people know that. Mores the pity
A lot of the material contained in your show is very topical, so with that in mind I’m gonna fire a few topics/people, that have been in the news, at you, and I’d like you to share your unique thoughts with me and the readers.
Shiny, pink-faced Tory wanker.
They’re missing an obvious hole in their merchandise with no Irish Coffee on offer.
A utility by the government with which to dupe the homosexual community into thinking they’re valued. David Cameron is an excellent business man and that’s why he’s pro-gay marriage. Remember the current government is a corporation interested in making money. ‘Give them marriage and they’re onside’. Look a little deeper, they’re hoodwinking you.
An outdated and irrelevant bigot who is doing a better job than anyone else at showing the BNPs true colours.
It’ll be nice not having to pay through the nose for a bit of sun. And with what the Energy Companies are charging at the moment we’ll be glad of the heat.
An excellent way to befriend people you’d really like to have sex with.
Jason has worked on and around London’s gay scene since the late 90’s. Having had worked with some of the countries top cabaret performers/venues he quickly become a recognisable face and name on the scene and was snapped up by London’s QX Magazine as their cabaret reporter in 2011. Jason was one of the main judges for both Drag Idol 2011/12 and Mr Gay UK 2012.