Hi Jonny, how would you describe the show you are bringing to Cat Laughs?
A saucy, dragstavaganza singalong with fully consensual, indecent audience interaction! That’s what it is isn’t it?!
And how about you as an artist?
The drag shows I do tend to be very anarchic, inclusive, joyous and unexpected. I’ll get people involved in a ridiculous spectacle, I’ll dress ’em up! It’s about inclusion and celebration.
You’re in the Stray strand which is all about boundary pushing. Do you think you’re provocative with your humour?
In terms of provocation and outrage and doing stuff which people haven’t seen, absolutely. I’m part of London’s alternative scene, I do shows which are designed to get a response.
So what attracted you to the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Festival?
I used to go to The Outing at Lisdoonvarna and I’ve been to Ireland many times. The audiences are always so fun and receptive and love to get involved. It’s a guaranteed good time basically.
What’s your impetus for creating new work?
If there are things in the press or talking points on social media good enough to be a provocation for me.
You recently toured with Le Gateau Chocolat with your show A Night At The Musicals, do you enjoy collaborating with other artists?
Collaboration is a very big thing for me. At the moment, I’m working with Richard Thomas who wrote Jerry Springer The Opera, and some other cabaret artists in London on a new show. Working with other people – that’s the most excitement I have.
What have been big influences on you over the years?
Justin Vivian Bond is a big influence – an American performance artist, and one part of Kiki and Herb. My dear friend Lavinia Co-op, a drag artist from the 80s and early 90s. I do a Liza Minelli routine, so I guess that’s an influence! Nightclubs too, that madness, I like to bring that energy onto the stage.
With drag becoming more mainstream, do you think people’s perceptions of it have changed much?
It’s always evolving. It’s a bit mainstream at the moment and then it won’t be. RuPaul’s Drag Race is on cable TV, but there’s not a huge amount of drag on BBC1 or ITV. There are big conversations about gender now happening, and gay marriage went through, so acceptance of otherness and gender and sexuality has all opened up. But in terms of drag, it’s still pretty underground.
You set up the legendary London gay bar, The Glory. Can you sum it up in 5 words?!
Inclusive. Exciting. Dangerous. Welcoming. Boozy!
While you’re over for the festival what are you most looking forward to doing?
Having fun running around Kilkenny! I love Ireland and the Irish. I want to find an Irish pub and have a beautiful big Irish lunch. That’s what I want to do!
Jonny Woo will be performing as part of the Soho Theatre set in the Cat Laughs ‘Stray’ programme of events.
Exclusive offer for GCN’s readers: as a special treat for all you comedy lovers, you can enjoy a 10% discount on tickets for all of the ‘Stray’ shows. Simply use the Code STRAY123 when booking your ticket. Check out ‘Stray’ programme here.
More details on Jonny’s show are available at http://thecatlaughs.com/programme/soho-theatre-2018/
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