Mr Boylesque Australia 2019 | Mr Frenchie
The Big Mac special sauce soaked images emerged on Instagram, a late-night haze turned bleary early morning reality – the wrappers were in the sheets, the crown on the shelf – the results were in and we were ready for our new comic marvel Doraemon clad superhero – Mr Frenchie. Barely a month prior an Instagram story popped up on my feed – asking the question, “Should I change my burlesque name?” I DM’d Mr Frenchie immediately. “Excuse me! Mr Frenchie is a perfect stage name. It’s suave and denotes the crispy smell of freshly baked croissants! Why on Earth would you want to change it!?” His response, “I don’t want to stand in the shadow of my wife, the OG Frenchie. I feel like I need to break free!” Well, I simultaneously hate and love to say it – Mr Frenchie – your name is now immortalised in the Hall of Mr Boylesque Australia Fame – it’s too late to change it now. You’ve been crowned and your new tagline is set – the Bruno Mars of Boylesque!
Alyssa Kitt caught up with the newly crowned unclad lad to talk about how this boylesque thing got “realsies” real quick! Mr Frenchie has amped up the Aussie boylesque scene quicker than we could pull our Doraemon knickers out from our freshly shaken booties.
CONGRATULATIONS Superstar!!! How did it feel when your name was called out and they placed that crown on your head??? SIDE NOTE (Mr Frenchie just whispered “What the Fuck” as producer Miss Jane pushed him down the catwalk at 24 Moons).
I didn’t know what was happening, I thought I heard my name, but I thought I was hearing things and was waiting for one of the other performers to step up. So I was looking around for a performer to accept the crown, when Archie Arsenic caught my eye and said, “Dude, you won!”. I still didn’t believe Archie, so I was still looking around all skeptical. If I didn’t have the crown on my shelf, I probably wouldn’t believe that it happened.
Well, we met in Melbourne a few months back both performing at Whoop Dee Doo Revue at the iconic Butterfly Club – correct me if my memory is wrong – but you said that it was your first time performing as a soloist? How is this possible???
I’ve performed a solo before as part of a showcase for Maison Burlesque, but Whoop Dee Doo Revue was my first paid gig and the 2nd time I performed a solo for realsies. I’m very thankful to the producer of Whoop Dee Doo, Maple Rose, for giving me my first opportunity. Maple probably doesn’t realise what that has done for my confidence. But as to how this is possible, I have no idea.
How did you find yourself taking your pants off on stage? Did you go through a school or have any other connection to the burlesque scene in Melbourne?
My connection to burlesque has been through Maison Burlesque run by Poppy Cherry. My wife, Frenchie Holiday, had been attending their classes for a while and when they opened a boylesque class taught by Egson Ham. I had second thoughts about attending, but making the leap turned out to be one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. Those classes allowed my thoughts to go from “Woah, they look so great on stage, I could never do that!” to “I wonder if I could do a solo” which eventually lead to “I wonder if I’ll get into Mr Boylesque”.
You’re a super new performer, what made you take the big leap of faith into the competition?
It wasn’t too much effort to apply and I always thought “what’s the worst that could happen?”. Well let me tell you, the worst thing that could happen is that you get accepted and realise that you only have one act and you have five months to create a new act. Which sounds like a lot, so you procrastinate, then before you know it you have three months before the comp and a vague idea of what you are doing. You then realise that you have no costume and start doing Spotlight runs thinking “Yeah, I can sew this myself”, but you overestimate your sewing skills. The panic starts setting in because now you need to create choreography and create a costume. More panic starts to surface when you realise that you also need a runway costume. The next three months is then a blur of sewing and choreography, that consumes your life that is like the foreplay to the explosion that is Mr Boylesque.
Were you nervous putting yourself out there next to some really established professional performers?
I was definitely nervous being stacked up against some great performers, I definitely felt like the underdog due to my total experience being 2 solo performances and an eight week course in year 10 for ballroom dancing. It was a great privilege to share the stage with Ana Diction, Archie Arsenic, Adam Astro and Trigger Happy. I’d like to think we ended up as friends on our journey to the event.
Ok – let’s talk competition prep – how did you prepare for the comp?
My prep was mostly routine creation, I joke about my experience with creating a routine in my previous answer, but I did try to keep organised. I have a visual diary that I keep with me so that whenever I have ideas, I write it down. I created mind maps to flesh out ideas so I could explore all aspects of a given idea. No matter how stupid I thought it was, it gets written down. I had a lot of help practicing and tuning my routine, so a lot of thanks should go out to Miss Jane Doe, Miss G Veous, Egson Ham, Evana De Lune and Frenchie Holiday.
Tell me about your stage character. How did you present Mr Frenchie in the Red Carpet Parade?
Mr Frenchie was the culmination of my journey that started with me as a shy person in the crowd to the performer I am today. I wanted to display the contrast from the person I was; the performer I am, and the performer I want to be. I want to be radiant and covered in LEDs.
Tell me about your traditional routine. Please describe the concept, costume and how you executed the routine.
The boylesque version of the traditional routine is the “tease” category. This routine is the very first routine I ever choreographed. But basically, Mr Frenchie misses his flight and is very sad about it, so he goes to the airport bar and tries to woo a respectable lady with child bearing hips. The costume itself is very simple with just a snap button tropical shirt; tear away pants and Doraemon underwear.
What did you do for your unique section?
My unique act was an escape routine where I escape from chains and a straight jacket. I’m actually quite happy with the way it turned out.
Did you have a favourite section from the night?
I don’t have a favourite section from the night, I was happy with the way I performed both routines, but I was especially happy when it was over and I could eat again. Carbs are so delicious.
Did everything go to plan – did you have any disaster on stage moments?
Everything went according to plan, I was quite nervous with my light up vest because I wired it up and it wasn’t the best wiring in the world, so at any point in time, some wires could come loose and render then vest non functioning.
The chain drop in my escape act was also a big worry for me as it would sometimes drop into my shoes and get caught. I had no backup plan for when that happens so I was really worried about that. It would make or completely break my act.
Give me three words that sum up Mr Frenchie.
Suave. Intense. Exciting
What’s next for you? Do you have any grand plans?
I just want to keep performing my acts as long as people want to see them. It feels bizarre winning the competition with the limited experience I have, so I want to continue applying for shows; showing people my craft and gaining more experience.
I’ll also probably continue to do classes at Maison Burlesque because it’s pretty fun and it helps build my movement vocabulary. I never want to miss a chance to learn.
Just after we had this conversation, Mr Frenchie kindly informed me that he is indeed changing his name. We can’t wait to hear the MC introduction on whatever iteration this seductive slayer takes on next.