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Yas Queen! x Adelaide Fringe - Interview

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by Tema (subscribe)
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Photography by Sanjeev Singh


Adelaide, if you missed out on Leather Lungs' performance last year, then here's what you missed -(Leather Lungs: Son of a Preacher).

But fret not, because this talented beast of a singer, cabaret superstar, and all-rounder of a performer will be returning to this year's Adelaide Fringe festival with a brand new show, which is aptly named Yas Queen!.

Born and raised in NZ, our beloved Kwazzie (Kiwi-Aussie) Jason Chasland (who plays Leather Lungs) transforms into the queen of stilettos and falsetto quite effortlessly. This year, his show will be nothing less of flamboyant and his audience can expect to be treated to the tunes of PRINCE and QUEEN (to name the major icons) in a wild, hilarious, and rowdy cabaret romp that will leave you with the best and most glamorous of memories for days long after.

In anticipation of his upcoming show as part of Adelaide Fringe, I was able to conduct an e-interview with Chasland - have a read of our exchange below:

Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Jason? What is your personal story?
Jason: Cue music: my story is a rollercoaster tale that essentially finds a small-town, gay, mixed-race boy feeling helpless. He puts on magical armour and becomes Leather Lungs to take on society's pressing issues - sex, body image issues, mental health, and generally being a bad-ass human!

Tema: First up - let's talk about your catchy name - Leather Lungs. What made you adopt that name?
Jason: I wanted something that wasn't human or gender specific. Leather is such a tough fabric and lungs gives us the breath of life. I love alliteration and it was also Judy Garland's nickname, so it was written in the stars!

Tema: What about the performing arts scene attracted you to it?
Jason: I had no choice! From the moment I went to my first class, I remember thinking, "I'm screwed!". From here, nothing else will make me this happy. It's not a choice, but rather a lifestyle and you can't escape it.

Tema: What inspired you to create your show Yas Queen?
Jason: In short, we live in an age of tall-poppy syndrome, self-deprecation, and social media. I wanted to use the music of my idols to create a show to inspire, uplift, and have a discussion about self-worth, and self-love.

Tema: How long have you been in the performing arts scene and what has the experience been like so far?
Jason: It's been 84 years... aka as long as I can remember! It's the most ruthless and rewarding industry. The lows are painful and the highs are magical!

Photography by Sanjeev Singh


Tema: What is the basic premise of Yas Queen, without giving too much away?
Jason: Self-love and empowerment through some of the best songs from iconic artists! Queen, Prince, Aretha, Elvis - the best of the best!

Tema: What can people expect from attending Yas Queen?
Jason: Powerhouse energy, insane vocals, witty banter, and open and honest dialogue.

Tema: Who would you say is your target audience?
Jason: Anyone who wants to open their mind to a progressive, diverse, and kind world that is full of love and laughter.

Tema: Some of the notes that you hit at your previous show Son of a Preacher last year were unbelievable! How do you look after your voice while juggling a busy year of performing throughout the year?
Jason: Firstly thank you, it ain't easy, honey! I'm not perfect or a machine, though I strive to be. I am extremely disciplined, which means that especially during show seasons, there is no drinking or going out much, lots of fresh produce, and hydration! I also practise a LOT. There's no secret as such!

Tema: What are some notable covers that your audience can expect as ear candy?
Jason: Somebody to Love, Purple Rain and RESPECT! Nom nom nom.

Tema: Let's talk a bit about your flamboyant and envious costume range - how do you go about putting it together for your show and what do you hope for the combination of your voice and look to represent?
Jason: I get most of my costumes constructed by a designer and sometimes, I source things from around the world or make pieces myself. For this show, I went back to my roots and employed the services of my very talented designer Ian Harman from New Zealand - he has an eye and flair for design that I haven't seen matched, and I love that we both are on the same page, with regards to telling stories through costume, about who Leather Lungs is, and about complementing the material in the show(s).

Photography by Sanjeev Singh


Tema: As a returning Adelaide Fringe performer, what are you hoping to expect from this year's participation in the festival?
Jason: To see some familiar faces and have a bloody good time connecting with SA audiences, the beautiful food, and the magic that Fringe breeds in the air (which is second to none). I can't wait to share this new show with everyone in just over a month's time!

Tema: What do you think makes Yas Queen a must-watch show?
Jason: My voice, my cheekiness and my buns! Apart from that, I do believe my shows are universal and for everyone - not just a queer audience. It's about life, pain, joy, heart, and laughter! These are all universal themes. Plus, the songs and costumes are killer!

Leather Lungs: Yas Queen! will be performing at Gluttony from March 3 - March 14, 2020 as part of Adelaide Fringe. Book your tix here.
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Why? It's a hilarious and uplifting form of cabaret that is perfect for those who are looking for a show that centers around a certain queen with leather lungs.
When: March 3 - 14, 2020
Where: Gluttony // Adelaide Fringe
Cost: $20 - $27
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