Wednesday, 03 July 2013 15:40

Little Orphan Trashley

Lovers of the original Annie musical are in for a rude awakening, as Trevor Ashley’s adults-only pantomime presents an entertaining and cheeky transformation titled ‘Little Orphan Trashley’.

Ashley frocks up as ten-year-old Frannie, a resident at Sutherland Shire Orphanage for Talented Children, and embarks on a journey to find her parents. She still wants to discover her true self, but in a much different way, as Ashley explains.

“In terms of the writing, I had the idea that Annie became a trannie, and the plot that she's looking for her parents so she can get gender reassignment — which I think is a much better reason than in the actual musical,” he laughs.

The cast also includes Australian veteran actors Rhonda Burchmore as Miss Trannigan, and Gary Sweet as Daddy Warhorse, with the jokes not confined to one source.

“Nothing and no-one is sacred and we certainly don't discriminate in our ridicule. The reaction we get is just people laughing their heads off, and I'm very thrilled to be doing it again because it's been about six months and we've made some updates.”

Trevor himself is a busy man. With a range of other projects in the pipeline, the actor says he's always kept occupied, and for good reason.

“I usually have so many going on at once, that's really what keeps me interested. It's never a dull moment. Right now I've got about seven different shows that I do, so keeping all of that in my head is enough to make me say 'oh god, how many of these do I have to remember?. But it's a good thing I think.”
After enjoying cabaret success in New York as a 21 year old, Ashley details his extensive history in the industry, and how he has almost become almost immune to performance butterflies. It's still thrilling either way, as he explains.

“In terms of this sort of panto show, I only started to really revive it in the last two years, but I've done musical theatre for quite a long time and cabaret theatre for even longer. It's always sort of the first show I get nervous on, and after that I'm fine. Performing is just what I do. It's certainly not difficult and I won't get stressed out on stage much at all.”

The transition from a classical musical to pub drag is major, but a change that Trevor says was organic nonetheless.

“I did a show at the Glenn Street Theatre in Sydney and a drag queen came to see it, and she said that I should try her style because I could sing. I started to learn make-up, and how to dress, and started getting up and doing numbers with them and eventually, within eight weeks or so, I had three jobs. I was doing six nights a week and sometimes three venues in a night for years, and it was great.”

After all the hard work has paid off, ‘Little Orphan Trashley’ is a brilliant display of panto and something audiences will love.

“Literally this is just there for people to come and have a laugh and ultimately have a great night out. You can grab a cabaret table at the Powerhouse, have a few drinks with your friends and have a good giggle. It's hilarious, wrong and fun.”

‘Little Orphan Trashley’ is at Brisbane Powerhouse July 17-20.

Published in Cabaret

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