Bed-hopping and boozing usually derail celebrity careers, but Trevor Ashley sees them as part of the story of his success.
As larger-than-life alter ego Cleopatra Coup?Ashley has scaled the heights of the Sydney drag scene in glitzy style since his debut four years ago.
And he has lived to tell the tale, which he plans to do when his new two-night show, Boys, Bars And Booze opens at the Statement Lounge on Saturday.
I kind of wanted to do something inspired by, and very real about, what I have been doing for the last few years, and it really has been a medley of different bars and all kinds of things, Ashley said.
It’s about doing drag and being in these venues and all of that kind of stuff.
Ashley promised the two-date show would include stories of one-night stands, the whole bit as it traced his drag career with song and comedy.
It kind of focuses on every aspect of my love life, I suppose, more than anything.
I am a bit worried about Mum and Dad seeing this one, but it’s going to be fun.
Drag gossip will flavour the night (I’m sure there’ll be a few Mitzi Macintosh stories in there), as Ashley analyses the industry to which he made an unexpected transition in 2001 after success as a cabaret artist.
I had done really well [in cabaret] in New York earlier that year and I had planned to go back, Ashley said.
When I came back from New York, I had lots of bookings in cabaret and I was doing that and it was great.
[Drag icon] Portia Turbo actually saw me perform and came and said, -˜Have you ever thought about doing drag?’
I said -˜no’ and she said, -˜You should think about it. You’d be the only one who could sing.’
When September 11 happened -¦ I just couldn’t go back to New York. The drag thing just kind of happened, and took over.
Since then, Coup?as risen to the rank of 2005 DIVA winner and co-hostess.
Ashley, meanwhile, has taken to the stage in Mardi Gras favourites Pop Princess and Pop Princess 2: Australian Idle.
It was in those stage spectaculars he refined his skill for recruiting celebrity co-stars, a strategy he will deploy once more in his new show.
Fellow 2005 DIVA co-hostess Courtney Act -“ whom Coup?idnapped as part of the Pop Princess 2 shenanigans -“ will appear in the first Boys, Bars And Booze date.
We actually get on very well. It will be a lot of fun for Trevor and Courtney to sing together, Ashley said.
In the second show, flautist Jane Rutter will perform in what Ashley admitted was an unlikely but nostalgic choice.
I remember watching Jane on Hey Hey It’s Saturday when I was a kid.
She was around and I said, -˜Come and do a number.’ So Jane and I are going to do a duet.
But there will be no appearance from Coup?who will be resting up after developing an exhausting drag habit of late. Not that Ashley’s outrageous offsider is slipping off her stilettos forever.
It certainly won’t be the end for either Trevor or Cleo, Ashley laughed. Hopefully.
Boys, Bars And Booze is on at the Statement Lounge, under the State Theatre, on 1 and 9 October at 8:30pm. For bookings call Ticketek on 132 849 or visit Ticketek website.