‘Gone Girls’ is a drag revenge fantasy that brings together Julie and Julia

Image of performers as Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop.

Gone Girls is a drag revenge fantasy that  focuses on two of Australia’s most memorable female elected representatives who have recently left the political arena.

Julie Bishop and Julia Gillard rose to the top of Australian politics until it all came crashing down. They may have left politics, but that doesn’t mean they’re over it.

Bringing this production that meets at the crossroads of theatre, drag, politics and fame is acclaimed performers Patrick Lively and Bel Larcombe. OUTinPerth chatted to them about politics, fashion and fame.

What’s the secret to transforming into Julie Bishop and Julia Gillard, a good death stare, well tailored jackets, or is the key something else?

The key is understanding why someone operates. What is their context and what do they want the most in the world?

Obviously with playing Bishop a good death stare is also key! With Julia it’s her voice. It is so recognisable and something I am deeply committed to honouring.

Being drag, what we’re doing with our characterisations is distilling their personalities and mannerisms into something really iconic and familiar. The real fun then comes when we subvert these and give the audience something unexpected!

How do the lives of these two political trailblazers translate to a theatrical presentation?

We’ve turned them into a classic odd-couple pairing… Julie Bishop the wealthy, private school fashion icon and Julia Gillard the daggy, public school do-gooder. Fierce ladies from opposite sides of the political track, so to speak.

We chart their careers from the year they both started in politics, 1998 and the twists and turns that ultimately lead them to joining forces to wreak havoc on the people (and system) that scorned them.

Julie Bishop has always had a loyal gay following, why do you think gay boys fangirl for her?

Julie Bishop is a boss bitch! Politics aside she is a woman who worked hard to be at the top of her game and looked damn good while doing it.

I think we all collectively gagged when we realised that our Deputy Prime Minister was serving looks every day of the week in the House of Representatives. Google ‘Julie Bishop Blue Dress’ for an outrageous and iconic moment in Australian fashion and political history.

Rumour has it that back in the day J Bish intentionally toned down her sartorial sensibilities to appease the old men in her party. Around the time that her boss started eating onions on TV she said fuck it and started wearing whatever she wanted. I think all the gays and many others could sense that defiant spirit.

Have either been to see the show, what you do if you looked up and saw them in the third row?

Neither. Yet! There would be a moment (or several) of absolute face-crack, mouth agape gagarama. I think we’d then pick ourselves up off the floor and lean in harder than we ever have. We do this show out of deep affection for them both and we’ve got nothing to shy away from.

Do we need more fashion in politics? Aside from Paul Keating’s suits, there’s never been as lot of fashion amongst the men.

Let’s start with a coherent policy agenda and a leadership team in touch with the Australian people’s wants and needs and once we’ve achieved that, hell yeah!

The dismantling of patriarchy in our political system will inevitably lead to greater representation and with that greater freedom of expression! The notion that you should be anything other than passionate and hardworking to be in politics is exclusionary and out-dated. Wear whatever you like! Be yourself. Just do ya damn job.

What do you hope people take away from your show?

Hope! A mischievous grin! A belly sore from laughing! We want every single one of our audience members to walk away feeling like change is not only possible, but exciting and damn necessary. Politics can be so depressing, we wanna make it fun.

Gone Girls is at Fringe World until 16th February. Tickets are on sale now.

Graeme Watson

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