Get ready Colchester County: Jake and Shaun’s Big Gay Affair is preparing to make The Big Return.
Building on the rave reviews of their first-ever drag queen show in New Glasgow last July, the duo gathered up their special guests and their sequins and lipstick and took their comedy to Tatamagouche and then Wolfville. All shows were a little bit different but all offered the same family-friendly, rolling-in-the-aisles-with-laughter type of entertainment.
This will be the duo’s first Truro performance and the July 29 show at the Marigold Cultural Centre is all new. It promises glitz and glamour, fun and frolic, music and entertainment, comedy and fashion and all points in between.
“We want to add in a new element that I’m hoping will be a group of people who will do a one-of type of thing,” said Jake Chisholm, one of the show’s co-creators.
“The Keltic Kittens fiddlers have taken on a bigger role and you’ll see them all through the show instead of just in one segment. There’s a lot more live music which people seem to be responding to, and there’s also some comedy so it stays that consistent theme of comedy all throughout the show,” Chisholm smiled.
A new video element will add to the production, Chisholm said.
“The videos are emotional; some of them are happy, some are really dark, some of them are sexy and sassy. The show has always been an emotional roller coaster but since we’ve added the videos it just goes an extra step further. And that’s what I wanted was to have the fluctuation of emotions throughout the whole thing. I want everyone to feel different things at different times and walk away feeling all those different emotions. Because it’s a show for everybody.”
He stressed, “It’s just a feel-good show about what it means to be a human and what it means to have emotions. And of course, it’s just a lot of fun! It’s a play meets a concert… you get the people who really enjoy plays, because we do all the live sketches which we write and act out ourselves, and you have the lip syncs — the classic drag numbers — because we didn’t want that to go away. Then the concert goes a step further with the live scenes.”
Returning with Chisholm and creative partner Shaun McLean is Miranda Wrights, who hails from River John.
“He has all these new numbers and it’s amazing what he puts out.”
It takes a lot of time, effort and energy to pull off a drag show like the Big Gay Affair. But for Chisholm, it’s a labour of love.
“New Glasgow’s our home and we really want to give it our 100 per cent, so vocal rehearsals are ongoing; that never stops because you want your voice to be strong. Writing, for me and Shaun, is quite interesting. We could get together and nothing flows. Then we leave and start thinking and things start marinating overnight and then boom! The next day it’s like we struck gold. Between us, we just work so well.”
The audience will also be delighted with the level of creativity — from lighting to comedy sketches to outfits. The performers are always in the hunt for the perfect piece of jewelry, shoes, etc.
“The wardrobe just seems to grow and grow. Because we have so many quick changes it makes it even harder because once you exit that stage you’re peeling everything off because you have to get that next outfit on and the jewelry to go with it and the right shoes. The shoes have to look good and be stylish yet comfy and that’s very hard to find. Those babies hurt after rehearsals!”
Jake takes a size 11 shoe and when it comes to finding the right pumps to match an outfit, it can get pretty tricky.
Costumes are the most fun. Miranda Wrights makes his own the majority of time. McLean uses Merv Gaffney — “an out-of-this-world costume designer. There is a new costume people will see in the show. It is out of this world. Merv made it for Shaun — Shaun does this thing from the Sister Act movie with Whoppi Goldberg — he comes out and he’s a nun and the two people beside him are puppets and they’re all part of one big costume. It’s hilarious!”
Jake alters the clothes he buys.
“For me, the look is so important. I’m very particular as to how I want to look. I have a sewing machine, but a lot of it is by hand — like with sequins and stuff. It takes time.”
Along with the show at the Marigold, they will be participating in the Pride parade earlier in the day, then right after the show they’ll be doing a performance in front of the new library. They’re also reading to children at the Truro library at 10:30 a.m.
“It’s going to be a crazy day, but it’ll be a fun day. Truro is a fun town,” said Chisholm.
Chisholm considers himself to be more country than rock, and Shania Twain is one of his idols.
“Of course I want to do a Shania song, but I’m more playing around to see what’s more comfortable, I need to find a song I can connect to, have meaning for me personally.”
For ticket information contact the Marigold Cultural Centre.