Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Part comedy, part sitcom, full-scale glamour - the ladies from Pamela's Palace will be putting up 75 minutes of pure, unadulterated storytelling that will discuss just how vulnerably strong anyone and everyone can be as they attempt to survive in a rather tough world!
Expect to see big-haired beauties with even bigger personalities, who will be doing everything in their power to channel their dry-witted humour and killer pouts, as they work their signature catwalks and entertain their audiences with bursts of laughter-worthy moments throughout the show.
I was fortunate enough to conduct an e-interview with Donna Gray, where we discussed everything about Pamela's Palace and what goes on behind the scenes - have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Donna? Donna: I started my career at the age of 17 as a dancer in pop videos and touring variety shows. I wrote the book 'High Kicks' (published by A&C Black 1999). I trained at Drama Centre UAL and have toured internationally playing Sybil Faulty for ITI at The Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall and tours to Norway, Kenya, Barbados, Singapore, Antigua and Scandinavia. I'm 25 years married to Trevor a psychotherapist (comes in handy!) and we have two children Molly 23 and Tommy 22. I have 3 adorable Siamese cats, I love Christmas and home styling, I'm vegan, I do my best to preserve our planet and my dreams are to make a TV show of Pamela's Palace, build an eco-friendly house, and rescue a dog.
Tema: Who are the key individuals involved with the production of Pamela's Palace? Donna: The production is has been devised and written by its three performers - Katie Grace Cooper, Ayesha Tansey and myself, with the wonderful Mella Faye at the helm as our director and co-conspirator. Interactive Theatre International has assisted us with the development, marketing and production of Pamela's Palace. Many others have helped at different stages, including our brilliant clown specialists Aitor Basauri and Stephen Harper and some musical numbers by Sam Halmarack.
Katie Grace Cooper has some serious grooves and dirty ass moves. She is a brilliant comic actress and has toured internationally world doing just that. Ayesha Tansey has trained in Paris, London and Australia as a clown and classical actress. She likes long walks on the beach and is originally from Mornington, Victoria. Mella Faye is a performer, composer, artist, director, business owner, mother and wife. She basically does everything really well and is very cool too. (Bitch) Interactive Theatre International is a boutique production and promotion company specialising in interactive, immersive and site-specific theatre at the 'light-entertainment' end of the theatre spectrum.
Tema: How did you come up with the concept of your show Pamela's Palace? Donna: About 4 years ago, I developed a character called Pamela, who was a vintage 60's hairdresser and I developed a solo show around her called Pamela's Permanent Wave. I performed it at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden, London and the audience's feedback was fantastic! I was approached by Ali from ITI and she asked me if I was interested in turning it into an ensemble production.
Tema: What inspired you to create this show? Donna: In the initial incarnation of the show, I was excited by the prospect of setting it in a hair salon and the interactive possibilities that that threw up. Positioning the audience as hair models in her salon meant there was a lot of scope for play. ITI is a company that works with the quality of interaction in all their theatrical endeavours, whether that be improv, clown, immersion, or interactivity.
Tema: What is the basic premise of your show, without giving too much away? Donna: There is a competition, a revelation, a conflict, a resolution. All the usual stuff ;)
Tema: What can people expect from your show? Donna: Hair, hair jokes, hair gags, hair chat, hairdressing, a free haircut (optional.)
Tema: How did you get involved with the Adelaide Fringe (AF)?
Donna: We have previously performed at the Adelaide Fringe with our long-running ITI show, Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience.
Tema: Have you performed at other comedy festivals, apart from AF? If so, which festivals were they and how was that experience for you? Donna: Last year, we performed at the Brighton Fringe 2018 and Edinburgh Fringe 2018. The atmosphere at Fringe festivals is electric and we love being a part of that. It's inspiring to be amongst a community of performers, who make people laugh for a living. We believe there is great value in that.
Tema: What are you hoping to experience through your involvement with AF and your time in Adelaide? Donna: We are hoping to have an excellent time! We are also interested in how the comedy of Pamela's Palace will land with an Australian audience. One of the characters in the show is Australian and comes from a sheep station in central NSW. Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom has been referenced in the rehearsal room many times and with great reverence (!) so, Aussie tragedy/comedy has been on our radar.
Tema: How did you score the venue The A Club? What about the venue piqued your interest, with regards to your show? Donna: The show is half clown, half cabaret, half theatre, half musical theatre. So The A Club, with its dynamic staging and openness to genre-bending cabaret acts was a no brainer. We are really excited to perform there!
Tema: Is there anything else that you'd like our readers / your visitors to know about you and your show? Donna: Pass the word around, if anyone would like a free haircut on stage...make yourself known ;)
Pamela's Palace will be performing at The A Club on Waymouth Street from March 1 -16, as part of Adelaide Fringe.