For many drag generations and through much change within the industry, one thing always remained the same: Pollys Follies. Even with its brief visit to Caesars, the death of its original home and the birth of its new home, the format has stayed the same. You knew that on Sunday evenings you could go to Pollys Follies and have a camp night, filled with hilarity and the possibility of witnessing talented newcomers (there are always newcomers, but not always talented). And now Polly has taken her show to the next step.
Adding a new element to the legendary weekly event, she has put together her very own production show. Yes it’s my show, she announces, regularly reminding the audience. Aptly titled Hairiffic, the show takes you on an hilarious journey through daily salon life, with big hair being a major focus. It fuses together two generations that are at complete opposite ends of the scale. Three Hall Of Fame winners – Polly, Monique Kelly and Miss 3D -“ introduce two brand spanking new drag kids into the realm of production shows – Christina Dior and Kirsten Damned.
I popped into the Venus Room last Sunday night and got front row stools for this hilariously hairy extravaganza and I absolutely loved it! It was a pleasure to experience this eclectic group of performers interacting with each other throughout its unstructured format. Without choreography dominating every number it leaves plenty of time for fun and frivolity, it also means that no two shows are ever the same. The show only had one rehearsal, so it relies on the improvisational talents of the cast to make it work. It’s an easy thing for the experienced performer, but more of a challenge for the newcomers. But they do say that throwing oneself into the deep end is a certain way to learn in haste. And learn, these girls surely will. My first encounter with drag was with Polly and then Monique and I spent a year touring the country with Carlotta. And what I learned from the wisdom of such talented performance veterans is part of the performer I am today.
While delicately perched on my stool during a minor technical glitch, I observed how devoted and loyal Polly’s following is. She only has to murmur the first syllable of one of her many trademark words and the room erupts in a nasal chorus of aaahh. With a show that has given birth to most of Sydney’s drag queens for over a decade and a personality so big you can see it from the moon, you can’t help but fall in love with this fabulous entertainer. Like a fine wine she just gets better with age!
But for those still wanting to take their tentative first steps in stilettos, and perform in a nurturing environment, Pollys Follies is still the place for you. The first show still remains the training ground for the next generation of drag queens. So whether you have a glamorous itch or you just want a fabulous night out, do yourself a favour and spend Sunday night with Polly.