We recently caught Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales’ new show Together Again, Again! at London’s Leicester Square Theatre and it was tremendous fun – you can read our review of it here.
We spoke with the duo during rehearsals as they were getting ready for their opening night in London to find out about the show, how it feels to represent drag culture in the mainstream, their story so far, and what their dream roles would be as performers.
Welcome to London – how does it feel to be back?
Jinkx: We’ve made this trip so many times that it feels like it’s a homecoming! We don’t really need any fanfare or pomp and circumstance, but we are both a little bit jet lagged and still getting our London legs. We arrived yesterday, 11 in the morning and it was an overnight flight but neither of us slept because we’re both night owls. We arrived ready to go to bed, basically! But we’re professionals, we’ll be fine.
Major: Give us a Red Bull and a flat white and we’ll wake up!
This is far from the first time you two have worked together – can you tell us a bit more about the Jinkx and Major story so far?
Jinkx: We met in college – or uni, we like to translate for a British audience! We started working together on some after school projects, we went to acting school so it wasn’t long before there was a student-run cabaret show and we first developed some work just to have something to perform that night… and we couldn’t do anything simply! We didn’t just want to perform a couple of songs, we had to create original characters with which to perform those songs. The response was so immediate and viscerally positive to our first collaboration that shortly after that we were working together loads, as you say. So that was about 12 or 14 years ago now and we just seemed to hit the nail on the head the first time and never looked back.
Major: You know it helped after Jinkx won the fifth season of Drag Race! We were able to do what we do, but on a much bigger scale, we’ve been lucky enough to tour it around in this wonderful part of the world.
Can you tell us a bit more about the new show?
Jinkx: It’s set in the year 2065 and Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales have not performed together in decades. They come together for a reunion tour and they’re reacquainting themselves on stage and they’re reflecting back on their careers, but since we are actually in our 30s performing in 2022, it’s a hypothetical retrospective on things that haven’t happened yet. It’s our characters in their 70s reflecting on their careers, but none of it’s actually happened…
Major: We’re nothing if not high concept! But in the end, it’s another fun cabaret where we get to be extra with each other and sing and play along with the audience.
Jinkx: Our conceits are generally high concept but the actual show itself is just a couple of clowns being goobers on stage. So even if the conceit sounds high concept, don’t worry, you’re not coming to a TED talk! You’re still coming to a bawdy drag cabaret show, just with the most complex of framing devices. I don’t get on stage unless I’m making dick jokes!
It’s great to see so much drag representation on the West End stage right now – how does it feel to be a part of that?
Jinkx: You can’t have too much drag, seeing as for years we were forced into the underground. For years, drag queens were hidden. We were cockroaches, you turn over a large boulder and there’s the drag queens putting on a cabaret show for each other! Now that we live in the mainstream, we’re making up for lost time and now you can’t swing a stick without swinging it into the face of a drag queen. At times it feels surreal, because there wasn’t a lot of appreciation for drag in mainstream culture – certainly not mainstream media.
Major: Also right now, it’s especially important to be visible in the world. We’ve been gone for two years and coming back it’s a different world that we’re living in right now and it feels like… us being able to be visible as queer people, doing our thing and being unabashedly who we are seems especially important for people to see – in a fun and entertaining way.
Jinkx – you’ve played lots of iconic roles in a variety of amazing shows. If you could play any role as a performer, what would it be and why?
Jinkx: My dream role is Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd. Sondheim is my favourite musical theatre composer, I’m a big Sondheim fan. Since I saw Sweeney Todd it’s been my favourite musical and I’ve always wanted a crack at that character. But close runner up would be The Witch in Into The Woods – copy and paste my reasoning because they’re both Sondheim musicals! I would want to play a female role where I’m playing it earnestly and honestly and giving the best performance I possibly can, not relying on the joke of, ‘It’s a drag queen.’ I would want people to forget that it’s a drag queen playing the role and just see the character. I want to prove that gender blind casting doesn’t have to be done for laughs and can be done for the earnestness of the character, and those are characters I think I can play really well – it doesn’t matter what’s between my legs!
Major: I think for myself it would be a blast to play a character like Billy Flynn from Chicago. But honestly, I have the most fun playing versions of ourselves or characters that we create between each other, characters that I create or we create shows around, because then you get to do whatever you want. You get to make up whatever character you want to play.
Final question: why should GAY TIMES readers come and see your show?
Major: If you enjoy great singing with a touch of absurdity, this is just the right marriage of those things for you.
Jinkx: Come, leave the kids at home, have your two glasses of red wine that the doctor suggests and watch us do our thing!
Together Again, Again! plays at London’s Leicester Square Theatre until 23rd April, after which the show will tour the UK. More information can be found here.