Miss Hope Springs doesn’t do drag-despite a name that hints at the contrary. Actually it would be more accurate to say that she doesn’t do stereotypical drag. There is no lip stinking, crotch flashing, swearing from this classy queen. She does, however, still wear fantastic dresses, huge heels and have a variety of brilliant blonde wigs. So it’s not a normal drag show, but it is still a great one. If you need proof she will be at the Crazy Coqs cabaret and bar on Monday with her special New Years Eve show.
I meet Miss Hope Spring for the interview after one of her regular Sunday night slots. Despite being on stage all night with the band she still finds time to talk to fans. She meanders around the room, lapping up praise for audiences and being bought champagne. Only after all this do we go to the dressing room. Off stage the glamour is gone. The dressing room is simply the space behind the door of a store room, but Miss Hope Springs is a professional and doesn’t let that get in the way of the interview. As she detucks (if you don’t know the lingo google it, but not at work) and removes the makeup and fake eye lashes she tells me about her upcoming show.
It will be in a similar vein to her sell out stint at the Crazy Coqs. Miss Hope Springs performs a show about shows and those women of a certain age still in the business. ‘I find this type of glamorous older woman fascinating,’ Miss Hope Springs says. ‘They are not around anymore.’ Miss Hope Springs, who is as fabulous in the changing rooms (a tiny closet next to the stage) as she is in her performance, has always been inspired by old schools divas. ‘When I was younger I wanted to be Liza Minnelli and Judi Garland. I wanted to sing with them, but that was impossible as they are dead.’
Despite missing out on the dream duet, Miss Hope Springs has managed to rub elbows with the famous elite. Out of the sequin dress and wigs Miss Hope Springs is Ty Jeffries whose father is screen talent Lionel Jeffries. This meant as a child there were always famous people around. ‘I have been around famous people, they are who I grew up with.’
These early experiences have moulded the way how her current shows have come out. ‘The show is not a pub act. I said from the start it is not a pub act.’ Instead they are they are classy and absent of any easy jokes that are aimed at an simple laugh. That does not mean the show is as pure as the Virgin Mary, the combination of serious ballads and silly tunes allows ‘room for all kinks’.
As the interview goes on I meet more of Ty as Miss Hope Springs leaves the building more and more with each baby wipe. It shows the magical power of drag that Ty can become Miss Hope Springs with just the right make up. While Miss Hope Springs is this aged Vegas Star Ty appears to be nothing than a normal, slightly overweight bloke. Soon only Ty is left and Miss Hope Springs only exists in the wig and dress that are being packed away.
All the material is written by Miss Hope Springs/Ty. She sings about casinos, and historic femme fatals as easily as as she sings about bisexuality or ‘how the devil made me do it’. Ty says: ‘I do it all myself. In style the girls, I write the songs, I do the choreography. I am the Woody Allen of drag.’
This perfectly struck balance of family fun and emotional vulnerability has worked well with audiences so far. ‘I think people relate to the vulnerability. A lot of drag are very tough and hard, but I wanted people to enjoy themselves.’
It has been a struggle Trying to be different and Miss Hope Springs/Ty constantly has to fight against false assumptions made about her act. But the struggles seems to be worth it as she will be bringing the in the new year with her own unique style which is certainly not a drag act. ‘It’s to a drag act. It’s an act that could be done by anyone. Men, women, even a poodle could do it.’
If you are interested in more drag shows in London there is a full list of North, East and South London gay bars. Plus a full analysis of the prices of tickets for drag acts.
There are also interviews with a Tranny who has a fanny, as well as a woman who likes to dress up as a man.