From a woman best known as the over-the-top MC of lesbian karaoke night Dikes on Mikes, the revelation is a shock: in a past life, Denise Hanlon was a drag queen.

She crept out of the depths of some nightclub in Newcastle, Hanlon says of her one-time drag alter ego Aunty Tina.

That was in my former band in Newcastle, Stark Raving Mad, where the characters and the costume started to take effect, I guess.

Aunty Tina is dead and buried these days, but Hanlon’s other wacky creations -“ like Disco Denise and Dusty Denise -“ are thriving, as the audience at her quaintly titled show The Bitch Can Sing will discover on Friday.

My partner’s responsible for that, she says of the show’s name.

She’s one of my bigger fans and we refer to each other as bitches quite affectionately.

There will be a costume or two. I’ve created a bit of an animal for myself I’m afraid, so it’s a little difficult to let it go, Hanlon says of her first major solo event.

Generally I do a lot of MC work -¦ so this will be an opportunity to hopefully show off the voice a little bit.

The Newcastle-bred entertainer says big, ballsy women are her musical inspiration, and camp classics will be in favour on Friday.

I’ll be whipping out some classics and peppering them with 1960s rock and roll and throwing in a bit of disco there as well, Hanlon says.

I Am What I Am is a bit of a signature tune, so I’ll be whipping that out, and maybe a Dusty Springfield tune or two.

To spice things up, Hanlon is even hinting at audience participation.

Who knows? I think we’ve got a spoon player perhaps who might get up and do something, she laughs.

Anything could happen.

The Bitch Can Sing is on at Manning Bar, Sydney University, on Friday 21 July. Book on 9209 4614 or at the Moshtix website. For more information visit Denise Hanlon’s website.

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