“DARLINGS, I am in London for a bit to try and get things moving and it’s safe to say that it is depressing as F!” So wrote York drag diva divine Velma Celli to her adoring devotees on email on Saturday lunchtime.
“Anyway, I’ll plod on as long as I can. So, I am doing my show ‘Me & My Divas’ next Saturday [June 27] and I would LOVE for you to join me LIVE from LANDAN!”
Since then, Velma, the glorious cabaret creation of actor Ian Stroughair, has returned to Bishopthorpe, from where his series of online performances, streamed live from the Case De Velma Celli kitchen, will resume this weekend.
Tickets for the 8pm show cost £7 at ticketweb.uk/event/velma-celli-me-live-stream-tickets/10614645. As always, tickets come off sale at 5pm and the link will be sent out at around 6pm
Here Charles Hutchinson has a quick catch-up with Velma in the lead-up to Saturday’s virtual date with divas galore.
How did it feel heading back to London from York after three months in home-town lockdown?
“It was both exciting and nerve-wracking…”
…You say you went back to London to “try and get things moving”. What can you do at this stage?
“I was hoping to network with restaurants and other smaller venues planning to open on July 4, but it was impossible, so I’m back in York for two weeks.”
How did your last online York kitchen show, Equinox, go on June 13? What did you perform with your remote guest Jodie Steel, the West End star of Wicked, Six and Rock Of Ages?
“It was the best yet! SO much fun. Jodie and I sang Take Me Or Leave Me from Rent [the American musical in which Ian Stroughair played the messianic Angel].
What’s the history of Me & My Divas?
“I first performed it in January this year in Perth, Australia, at Fringeworld, winning the Best Cabaret award for the season.”
What’s the content of this new show?
“No diva is safe, no riff she won’t sing – so strap yourself in and let the belt-off begin.
“Me & My Divas is an overindulgent diva fest celebrating the songs and behaviour of all of your favourite divas, including Celine, Mariah, Whitney, Aretha, Cher, Britney (maybe not!) and many more.”
Definitely being one yourself, what are the qualifications required to be a diva, Velma?
“Crazy, talented and confidence to suit.”
Will you have a guest joining you remotely, like you did with Twinnie, Louise Dearman and Jodie Steel for your previous online shows?
“I am working on this. Hopefully I will.”
What are your upcoming plans as lockdown loosens ever more expansively?
“Darlings, you can now book Velma OR Ian to perform privately for your ‘Bubble’ in your outside space/garden or publicly if you have a venue with enough room for social distancing indoors or out!!!
“Get in touch if this is something you might be interested in at firstname.lastname@example.org.”