Fringe shows no drag

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Born in Mt Barker and raised in Walpole, Matthew McPharlin said he never expected to become a drag queen.

However, next month, 20 years after he first appeared in drag, Mr McPharlin will take his alter ego Barbie Q to the acclaimed Fringe World festival.

Performing in three different shows in February, he said he was eagerly anticipating returning to the Fringe stage with his own shocking catalogue.

“I love entertaining people, I love making people laugh,” he said.

“I’m 37 and I have no issues with who I am.”

Growing up, McPharlin said he always aspired to be a dancer.

He watched his first drag show when he was 17 and said he could not understand any of it. “I guess I just didn’t get it, and then I became friends with one of the drag queens, and I saw the process of what they do and I learnt just from watching,” he said.

“When I was 18, I lost my job and there was a club that was having a drag-queen competition.

“I went to get the $500 prize money so I could pay my rent.

“Somehow, I actually managed to win.”

After that first show, McPharlin took his drag character across Australia and to the US.

Back on home soil in recent months, McPharlin has toured towns throughout the Great Southern region, including Walpole and Albany.

“I love Walpole because of the people,” he said. “I find everyone very homely.

“There is such a wonderful sense of community there.”

A proud gay man, McPharlin said part of his reason for performing in drag was it gave him an escape from normal life.

“It’s a good release for me,” he said.

“At the end of the day, I’m a 6ft dude wearing a lot of make-up and inappropriate clothing, but in my personal life, I am nowhere near that person.”

McPharlin’s three circus cabaret Fringe shows will discuss topics including sexuality and fetishes in a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek style.

It may not be to everybody’s taste, McPharlin warned, but it promised to be a memorable evening.

“I talk like a trucker and I made no apologies for what I say,” he said.

“So I know people might find me a bit much, but some will just laugh.

“I think the world that we live in has quickly become so politically correct and so right-oriented.

“I think sometimes people forget that we are all here on this earth to have a bit of a laugh and to have fun.”

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