A year on from the dragtastic murder mystery comedy farce bringing the house down, it’s back for a hysterical sequel, Death Drop 2: Back In The Habit (nun-themed, would you believe) and a revamped cast. With the exception of one of two holdouts, US queen Willam – who spoke to Rhiannon Farr.
Death Drop 2: Back In The Habit is a brand new iteration of the original Death Drop. How does it differ from the previous version?
Willam: Different writer, different cast*, different production team! And there’s definitely some death…
Who’s the most organised cast member on this tour?
Willam: The person who knows all their lines the best is Cheryl Hole. She’s off-book already. We’re all like, can you just grab your script so we don’t look like idiots? Everybody else has our scripts still, bitch! But she’s great.
You’ve been performing in the UK quite a lot recently. How different is it performing here compared to the US? Do the audiences receive it differently?
Willam: Last year I was in England for seven months total, between the West End version [of Death Drop] and then the tour. Everybody’s so much nicer here, more polite, but maybe that’s just because of their accents. We haven’t done Death Drop in America, but people like drag the same everywhere. There’s jokes in this show I don’t get, or English references I have to Google… I’m learning about Cilla Black and Surprise, Surprise.
[Following on from Willam complimenting my Pink Floyd jumper] While we’re on the topic of music, who are your favourite artists?
Willam: Probably Janet Jackson. Every gay man is assigned a diva at birth and she was mine. She was the first music video I saw on MTV. I also really like Jazmine Sullivan, Adam Lambert, The Eagles, Journey, Aerosmith. I like a lot of 90s r’n’b – TLC’s probably my favourite group – and my only goal in life is to see Gaga and Beyoncé perform Telephone live before I die.
Without any spoilers, what’s a moment in the show that we should look out for?
Willam: The bits of scenery flying from Victoria Scone’s mouth. She can physically chew the scenery! The bitch knows how to milk a laugh really, really well and she’s really impressive. A lot of people had preconceptions about AFAB queens but it goes to show that she’s just a good drag queen, and there’s a difference in being a good female performer and being a drag queen. She’s got, like, this bawdy sensibility: it’s like trying to define what camp is, it’s a secret sauce I really can’t define. I don’t know what she identifies as, but she’s definitely in the LGBTQ vicinity. People gatekeep a lot in the drag community and that’s a shame – everybody should have the chance to wear smelly tights and shoes that don’t fit.
There’s a massive drag community in Cardiff, with a lot of resident queens here including Victoria.
Willam: When I was in Cardiff last year, I found a bookshop called the Queer Emporium – I got Billy Porter’s book there, as I ended up working on a TV show with him. I fell in love with this little piece of gay heaven in the middle of the city. Tayce is from Wales too, he’s amazing.
Finally, what West End production would you love to be a part of?
Willam: I guess I already have two West End credits because of Death Drop. Aside from that, I really liked the music in & Juliet. I think it’s a brilliant show – I love how you can repurpose music and use a whole artist’s back catalogue, and introduce it to a new generation. They haven’t asked me to be in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie yet, but I did see it when it came to LA, with Bianca Del Rio and an actor named Layton Williams. Williams is so talented, he’s like a dynamo. He’s so good at everything. I’m glad we don’t compete each other against each other for parts because it would be no contest.
*Editorial note: LoUis CYfer, who was part of the original 2020/21 West End cast, is also returning for Back In The Habit alongside Willam.
Death Drop: Back In The Habit, New Theatre, Cardiff, Tue 29 Nov-Sat 3 Dec
Tickets: £18-£40. Info: here
words RHIANNON FARR
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