It’s no secret that comedian Charlie Hides is a big fan of playing dressing-up, in fact he’s made a career of it. Known on the international virtual stage that is YouTube for his Charlie Hides TV channel, which sees him taking on the personas of Cher, Lady Gaga, Madonna and Liza Minnelli, the American-born performer will now be bringing these divas and many more to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern for his new regular Sunday slot.
He’s got some big shoes to fill; the act he’s replacing has held the Sunday spot for fourteen years while the comedian prior to him was there for sixteen years. “The Sunday afternoon timeslot is legendary and anyone who has performed at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern will know it’s really the best set up for live entertainment; there’s just a great energy to the room,” Charlie says.
The American-born performer has been doing a regular 8:30pm Sunday slot at the Two Brewers in Clapham for six years as well as one weekly YouTube show, which has been running since 2011. The two shows complement each other and he’s able to incorporate a lot of pre-filmed video into his live shows.
Charlie’s recreation of gay icons Cher and Madonna is something to be marveled at. Even the great diva herself would argue that it takes a long time to look like Cher. “I’ve learned how much you can change characters in 30 seconds,” Charlie reveals. “You can change your costume, that’s just Velcro, and your wig and if I just wear generic face make-up I find that once I add in my material, posture, accent and voice, the audience don’t notice if the make-up isn’t identical,” he explains.
Though Cher’s a personal favourite it’s his original characters that Charlie prefers playing, with Laquisha Jones being a particular crowd pleaser; he says she stole the show at past parties for Elton John and Kerry Katona. “For some reason celebrities and posh people love Laquisha,” he laughs. “She was inspired by some girls I knew back home; they had this great attitude and used to say things like ‘it’s my way until pay day’ and from there I just gave her a costume and personality that matched and she grew from there.”
Charlie Hides is at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane, SE11 5HY Sundays from April 7, from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. Admission: £8. http://www.rvt.org.uk. 020 7820 1222.