Colin Rothbart, a London based producer and director has made TV documentaries for various TV stations and has now made his debut feature film documentary. Dressed As A Girl (2015) tells the story of six years in the life of the most celebrated of London’s East End drag artists. It successfully sets out to give an insight into the fragile, some times sad, sometime hilarious, lives of these artists.
We get to see their outrages on-stage antics as well as an in-depth look at their personnel lives when we witness the sometimes-dark side of their existence. The main focus is on six of these alternative performers. Kent born Jonny Woo is the 'ringmaster' and best known of the group. Honing his craft in New York he went on to co-found the popular Gay Bingo a new approach to bingo calling and was instrumental in Glastonbury's first queer tent. He also co-owns The Glory a notorious East London pub where he regularly performs. The youngest of the group is East Londoner Scottee whose 'brash and obnoxious approach left audiences confused’. After getting over some personal issues he has become a regular presenter to BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends and tours with his one man show Burger Queen. Known as the 'Tranny with the Fanny' Holestar is an openly queer woman and an ex-soldier who challenges the perceptions of her gender by being a female drag queen and in 2015 become the first woman to win Best Drag Act at London’s Cabaret Awards. We follow the outrageous pop star and model Amber who becomes a transgender woman and we get to witness her fathers reaction when he realises that his son Dean has become a woman in all respects bar none. When the DJ and domestic goddess, Jon Sizzle is not performing he can be found stuffing pouffes at his local church. The saddest of the performers is Pia Arber a transgendered girl who describes herself as a member of the third sex. She works as a building labourer by day and showgirl by night. She can also be found repairing bicycles.
|Amber Waze in a scene from her music video.|
Described as a frockumentary this is an affectionate look at an alternative cultural experience that I'm sure most people, other than the small-minded variety, will enjoy. As I've said its often very funny and entertaining but does demonstrate that a drag artist life is not all laughs and when you remove the make up, wigs and frocks underneath we find people that have to overcome their personnel struggles which as we witness is not always easy.
|Pia Arber and The Third Sex.|