Surrey’s drag history more than skin deep

CITY CENTRE — If you thought drag was just an excuse for men to cross-dress in front of a crowd, you thought wrong.

That’s the message of Tucked and Plucked, a live "Drag Herstory" that explores roots of Surrey’s drag community, which go deeper than a few layers of makeup. The campy, talk show-style performance – a Zee Zee Theatre production – is on Centre Stage at Surrey city hall Friday (July 3) and features interviews with notable drag queens who’ve made an impact on the local scene.

"It’s not as flimsy as men in dresses parading around in front of an audience," said co-host Dave Deveau, known in the drag community as Peach Cobblah. "There’s actually really interesting politics behind it and certainly a lot of community rallying and social justice that went into the original drag movement."

Described as Ellen Degeneres meets Jerry Springer, the informative (and sometimes outrageous) show started about five years ago, as part of Vancouver’s 125th anniversary, when Deveau was commissioned to develop a show detailing the history of drag in the city.

Friday’s show takes the same premise, but it’s the first time Tucked and Plucked has discussed Surrey’s background with drag.

Appearing onstage with Deveau is co-host "The Queen of East Van" Isolde N. Barron. The duo will be interviewing The Queen Bee of Surrey, Mz. Adrien; the Drag Empress of Surrey, Amanda Luv; and Mona Regina Lee, a longtime drag queen in Vancouver who’s also quite prominent in the Surrey scene.

"It’s been really lovely getting to know a bunch of the movers and shakers in the Surrey drag community," said Deveau. "They have some beautiful and inspiring stories to share with the audience that I think will really resonate with the local crowd."

He noted there’s a bit of a script for the more educational segments about drag history and terminology, but there’s also significant room for some unpredictable improv.

"When you put three drag queens onstage together in an interview segment, you just never know what you’re going to hear," he said with a laugh. "We apologize in advance if any of the language is too lewd for virgin ears."

Deveau said the show isn’t just for people who are already into drag – there’s something for everyone, whether they know a lot about the community or nothing at all.

"This’ll be hugely informative, but also just a hell of a good time. A drag show is big and glamourous and loud and colourful – and what’s not to love about that?"

Tickets are $28, including all fees, and are available at the door or in advance by phone (Surrey Civic Theatres Box Office, 604-501-5566) or online at tickets.surrey.ca.

The show starts at 8 p.m. at Surrey City Hall, 13450 104th Ave.

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