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Life’s a drag!

Fri 23 Feb 2007 In: People View at NDHA

Not only did Brendan Goudswaard hone his diva lip-synching skills at two High School talent quests, he even appeared in drag for his class photo and school ID. “My first drag show I did at school was Geri Halliwell's ‘Look At Me' in a black and gold PVC outfit,” he explains proudly. Now Brendan and his alter ego Ellie Kat are bringing their stories to the stage as part of Wellington's eclectic Fringe Festival. His solo show, ‘Life's A Drag' is based on his real life experiences, exploring the relationship between Brendan and Ellie. It's a mixture of film and live performance – “mostly comical, but there's some serious sides to it as well,” he reveals. “I just wanted to show a side of myself and a side of drag which is very rarely seenand keep it entertaining with the truth still there.” Life's A Drag was started as a project for Brendan's performance installation class at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, where he studied costume design for three years. The first performance in September at St Johns in the City in Nelson received a standing ovation from the audience of tutors, peers, friends and the general public. Two of his tutors suggested it be submitted to the 2007 Wellington Fringe Festival. A further staging in Nelson was planned to help raise funds to bring Life's A Drag to Fringe. Demand for tickets was so strong that a matinee performance was added and people were even sitting in the aisles. The film element of the show has both Brendan and Ellietalking about each other and their experiences, broken with moments of songs and dance which are either performed by Brendan on film, Ellie on stage, or both as a duet. Brendan was born and bred in Wellington, attending Wellington High School (98-02) where he studied Drama, Clothing, Art, Photography and Performing Arts. The 2001 talent quest was where the first incarnation of Ellie Kat appeared. Since then, Ellie has gone on to perform in nightclubs and festivals in Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson and Palmerston North and headlined iMerst's latest New Year's Eve Neon Party. “I'm currently doing shows almost every Friday at iMerst at 12.30am. It's going really well, there are shows with three different drag queens,” Brendan explains. Ellie's also booked for the iMerst after party for the Gay and Lesbian Fair on Saturday 10th March. The opening night of Life's A Drag is a fundraiser for ‘Out There' – a national organisation that aims to support and celebrate the sexuality and gender diversity of young people, and enhance their health and wellbeing. LIFE'S A DRAG An event in Wellington's Fringe Festival Paramount Theatre, 25 Courtenay Place, Wellington 10.30pm, 28 February – 3 March Tickets $12 (Concession $10, Festival Addict $8) Book (04) 384 4080 or visit www.paramount.co.nz     Matt Akersten - 23rd February 2007

Credit: Matt Akersten

First published: Friday, 23rd February 2007 - 12:00pm

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