I honestly don’t know where I’ve been lately – I mean I know where I’ve been but I do seem to have missed things. As I was surfing the web on Friday I discovered that another one of the greats had died: Danny LaRue.
Now that name may not mean any thing to some of my North American friends but take it from me Danny was something special. The one thing he wasn’t was a female impersonator – he was by his own definition: a Comic in a Frock. And what frocks! A Danny Larue show was going to be glamorous, glorious and fun filled.
Here’s a brief BBC obit – that don’t half do him justice:
On my second trip to England in 1970 I remember seeing some wonderful shows in the West End but the one that sticks in my mind was Danny LaRue at the Palace. For two years Danny packed the 1400 seat Shaftesbury Lane theatre dishing up an evening of galmour, glitz and laughter. I recall the audience being filled with moms, dads and the like all in for a good night’s fun with “our Danny”. Its rather strange that there is no entry for his long run there in the online history of the Palace.* Unless drag isn’t respectable enough for the gang at Real Useful who now own the theatre? Damn if there is one thing Danny was it was respectable – racy, bawdy and very naughty sure but he took “drag” out of the clubs and pubs and put it into the mainstream of British entertainment.
And here’s a clip from the Act one finale of that Palace show I saw back in 1970.
Danny wasn’t one of the those lip-sync artists – he did all his own vocals and when younger could dance up a storm with the best of the gypsies on stage. Though I find in the later part of this clip I want to slap host Michael Barrymore (an irritating man in soooo many ways)I’ve included it for Danny giving his famous catchphrase “Wotcher mates!” and singing one of his signature numbers.
Danny, you definitely had that “little bit extra”!
*Post script: I had sent an e-mail to the people at Really Useful asking about the omission of Danny’s long run at the Palace. Within a few hours they had replied. Apparently their programme for the current show, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, has a full length feature on his appearance there and they had removed it from the theatre history to avoid repetition. The internet history was copied directly from it but I was told they would update it online. Danny in Priscilla – now that would have been something to see.
27 luglio – Santa Natalia