LOCKDOWN cabaret streaming duo Velma Celli and Jess Steel are going on location to the Earl Grey Tea Rooms for their Showbizzy Shambles show in York tomorrow (5/2/2021).
After the camply nautical, naughty fun of their water-themed Fabulously Flooded online gig last week, they are vacating the riverside abode of Ian Stroughair, drag diva Velma’s creator, by Lendal Bridge for light relief and camp cabaret belting.
“We’re getting the keys to the Earl Grey Tea Rooms in Shambles and filming it there,” says Ian/Velma. “We’ll be going vintage, so join in with your apparel, peeps, if ya feel like it. Not essential but fun.”
Tickets for Showbizzy Shambles grant access to the streamed show any time from 5pm tomorrow to Sunday evening (7/2/2021). Go to http://bit.ly/3pAtBAF for all the details. “Please feel free to invite all your mates,” says Ian/Velma.
Here, everything stops for tea questions and more besides as Charles Hutchinson grills Ian Stroughair/Velma Celli.
How is your house now, post-flooding? Fully recovered?
“Yes! Thank RuPaul (God)! It took a lot of scrubbing, but I got there!”
Where did you end up recording your January 22 show when water had seeped in through the front door and back door?
“Still in the house. The kitchen is lower than the living room, so we were cool.”
What songs on a water theme did you perform in last week’s Fabulously Flooded show? Something by The Waterboys? Peter Gabriel’s Here Comes The Flood? (Lendal) Bridge Over Troubled Water, maybe? So many possibilities!
“Ha ha, so many! It’s Raining Men (obvs). Waterloo. River Deep Mountain High. Cry Me A River. You get the drift.”
How has the streamed gig at the Earl Grey Tea Rooms come about?
“Clare and Howard [Proctor] are very good old friends and they’re fabulous supporters of all my Velma and Ian appearances.
“I adore this place as much as its owners and it’s been a real struggle over the past year, as you’d imagine, so I wanted to raise them up.
“Not only because it’s such a fabulous tea room – to get you all chomping at the bit to visit, as soon as we move tiers – but also to highlight just how hard it is right now, not just in my sector of live performance but in the hospitality industry too!
“Clare and Howard have worked so hard for years, so I wanted to use my platform to shine a spotlight on them.”
In which room will you record the show?
“Undecided. Each one is so quaint. Will depend on lighting, darling.”
Water theme last week. Any tea and cake songs this week? Can’t think of a crumpet song….
“We are going vintage. From the 1940s, but all the way up to Lady Gaga and everything in between.
“Why not prepare yourself an afternoon tea with scones, finger sandwiches, tea pots filled with fizz, and let us entertain you, direct and safely in your own home.”
What is your perfect afternoon tea and where?
“Earl Grey Tea Rooms of course! Best scones ever. I love their Coronation Chicken jacket, followed by a cream tea with English brekky! You must all go as soon as they reopen. Such quality and atmosphere.”
Earl Grey, Darjeeling or Lapsang Souchong?
“All. But my favourite is English Breakfast in the morning and Orange Pekoe on an afternoon.”
Cream first or jam first on a scone?
“Traditional Victoria Sponge.”
Have you ever left a cake out in the rain, a la MacArthur Park?
“No. Come rain or shine, Velma never neglects confection.”
What’s coming next?
“Tomorrow is the last show with Jess and me for a few weeks as I have some solo live- stream bookings to perform.”