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Artist and ac­tor Dickie Beau

When did you dis­cover Kenny’s work?

Kenny was on the telly when I was a lit­tle boy and I was fas­ci­nated by him. I don’t think I knew he was gay, in those terms, but I in­tu­ited he was a kin­dred spirit. His TV show was an iconic part of my child­hood — Cu­pid Stunt was the source of great in­trigue for my sixyear- old self.

How much screen time does Kenny have in the re- telling of Fred­die’s story?

I haven’t seen the film yet but, as­sum­ing I haven’t been cut, it’s a re­spectable — and, I hope, re­spect­ful — cameo which comes at the heart of the film and at­tests to the part Kenny played in the rise of Queen. It gives a glimpse of the chem­istry and friend­ship be­tween Kenny and Fred­die.

Are there any other LGBT+ icons that you’d like to see brought to the screen?

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Tok­las. I’ve be­gun dream­ing of an idea around them, which I would love to de­velop into a screen­play.

You la­bel your­self a ‘ shape- shifter/ shirt- lifter’. Have you al­ways been com­fort­able with your sex­u­al­ity?

I wish I could say other­wise, but I haven’t al­ways been com­fort­able with my sex­u­al­ity. I was ho­mo­pho­bi­cally bul­lied at school be­fore com­ing out and that was rough. I also knew I was gay from a pre­co­ciously early age, around five or six, and I had al­ready got the mes­sage that it wasn’t OK. So I was quite a se­ri­ous and soli­tary child. The the­atre was my refuge.

Do you think be­ing openly gay will af­fect your fu­ture act­ing ca­reer?

I have no idea, but my agent doesn’t seem wor­ried. And thanks to the courage of openly gay ac­tors who’ve come be­fore, such as Rupert Everett and Ian McKellen, I sus­pect it’s less com­mon nowa­days for ac­tors to be viewed solely through the lens of gay vs straight.

You’ll soon be seen along­side Keira Knight­ley in pe­riod drama

Co­lette as mime artist

Wague. Was mim­ing hard to master?

My pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence of mim­ing was very help­ful. In­ter­est­ingly, Ge­orges Wague was the man who in­vented lip- synch­ing in the Parisian cabarets, which was an amaz­ing co­in­ci­dence. He called it “can­tomime” — he had a pi­anist and a singer in the wings, then he would come out on stage and lip- synch.

You are renowned for your lip­synch­ing skills. How would you com­pare your lip- synch per­for­mances

to that seen on RU­PAUL?

I’m ashamed to say I’ve never watched RU­PAUL’s Drag Race. I was in­tro­duced to lip- synch­ing by a drag artist from San Fran­cisco called Sup­pos­i­tori Spell­ing, to whom I’m eter­nally grate­ful. I’ve gone on to make shows that have a per­for­mance lan­guage all of their own. I usu­ally do long- form, spo­ken- word lip- synchs, but it’s an art form with end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties.

When did you re­alise that a life on stage, in its many forms, was for you?

I played the Hand­some Prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves when I was five, and from then on I knew I wanted to act. But if they’d cast me as Snow White, well, I might have drifted.

Do you run through any su­per­sti­tions or rit­u­als be­fore a per­for­mance?

I don’t buy into su­per­sti­tion be­cause it cre­ates men­tal clut­ter and puts the un­der­ly­ing fo­cus on the pos­si­bil­ity of things go­ing wrong. Every time you go on stage you take a leap of faith, and I need a clear head for that. My motto is “Don’t look down”. And I med­i­tate.

What’s next?

Ac­tor, artist and drag star Dickie Beau dis­cusses his spot- on por­trayal of Bri­tish ra­dio and com­edy le­gend Kenny Everett in the Fred­die Mer­cury biopic Bo­hemian Rhap­sody, be­ing openly gay in the busi­ness and his sick lip- synch­ing skills

I’m taking my solo show, Re- Mem­ber Me to the Mel­bourne Fes­ti­val. Then Texas for two months re­search­ing a new project based on the ar­chive of Stella Adler, who was Mar­lon Brando’s act­ing teacher.

STUNT MAN: Dickie as Kenny with Rami Malek as Fred­die Mer­cury in Bo­hemianRhap­sody

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