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Silly, Rambunctious Fun: Tash York’s Happy Hour

Forget your troubles, come on get happy with Cabaret Darling, Tash York! It’s been two years since her last stint in Perth and she’s ready to give audiences the Tash take on the best time of day, with her new show Tash York’s Happy Hour.

Like many Aussie artists, Tash was heavily impacted by covid and admits to not having the best time with her mental health. Coming out of lockdown, Tash felt the urge to write a show that shone a light on the better parts of life. “It’s been such a traumatic time filled with a lot of division. I wanted to write a show that celebrates all the wonderful things in life like our community. This show is a way of bringing everyone in on a level playing field.”

In her previous shows, Winefulness and These Things Take Wine Tash focused on her own relationship with alcohol. This show, however, will unpack what it really means to be happy; past the band aid solution alcohol can provide.

“When you’ve been locked in your house for 62 days and all you had to do was drink the entire time, it becomes fairly obvious that it (alcohol) doesn’t really solve anything. It just masks a lot of things.”

Having already played in other parts of Australia, this show has been nominated for two cabaret awards as well as winning an award at Melbourne fringe. Tash believes the show’s focus on the “idea of happiness” is something that many people are interested in, leading to great reception from audiences.

“For most people happiness is something to be worked towards, it’s not something that you get out of sheer luck or because you deserve it. Like anything else in this life, it’s something you have to work towards. That is resonating with people.”

Photography by Jayden Byrne – Melbourne Fringe

The last two years have also seen Tash evolve her cabaret style and identity, now performing as an AFAB (assigned female at birth) drag queen which she says feels like second nature. “I was always very interested in glamourous costumes and makeup. It was the logical next step on my journey.”

After spending time with burlesque performers, Tash realised that a drag queen title was more suited for her stage persona. “The grandeur of Burlesque performers wasn’t quite my style. I like the tongue in cheek-ness, the fabulousness and the humour of the drag world.”

“People don’t know whether I’m male or female and I love that because it doesn’t matter. Gender is a construct; I think society will start to realise that it doesn’t matter what’s between your legs. People are people and you love them for who they are.”

Tash explains that the drag scene itself has also evolved to become more inclusive of diverse performers. “It’s transcended female impersonation, it’s a fantasy. I’ve explained it to people as being like when you play a video game and you get to choose all the different colours that the character is wearing, what hair they’ve got on and what shoes they have.”

Photography by Jayden Byrne – Melbourne Fringe

Some things haven’t changed for Tash, with the new show still containing her signature improvised songs; a skill which she’s been honing for almost a decade. “I used to work with Impromptunes, and I learnt so much from them about the structure of stories and where certain emotions go and how to make things make sense for other people. I don’t do it as a full show, but I do one song with things from the audience and it gives them a way of feeling heard.”

“People are always saying to me, “Oh aren’t you scared and nervous about doing it?”. As soon as you pull off a first rhyme or put someone’s name into it, everyone’s like “Oh that’s amazing!”.”

Joining Tash on stage are her music makers known as the Red Red Wines featuring drag artists Vivian Fonteyn and Peppy Smears. Along with creating heavenly harmonies, Tash will also be playing a game called ‘Goon of Fortune’.

“I used to play Goon of Fortune when I started doing theatre. We would finish a show and then go and get a Hills Hoist and put one bag of red wine on one end and a bag of white wine on the other end. We’d spin it and whoever it landed on would have to drink it.”

She says it was a great team building activity, “It was so stupid, but it was always a way to forge new friendships and have a laugh. It was a way of bringing people together and making them come out of their shells a bit and that’s why it’s in this show too.”

With a whole host of original songs alongside parodies, Tash York’s Happy Hour is set to be a jam-packed good time, with or without a drink! “It’s just really silly, rambunctious fun that brings people together.”

Tash will be performing at ‘The Gold Digger’ in The Pleasure Garden from Jan 31 & Feb 1-8.