Marney the (Mc)Queen of cabaret in Hair to the Throne

Marney McQueen as Rosa Waxoffski.
Marney McQueen as Rosa Waxoffski.

PERFORMER Marney McQueen feels just as at home in WA as she does in hometown Melbourne and current base in Sydney.

This may have something to do with the huge family reunions on her mother’s side she has attended in Toodyay while camping along the Avon River, and the Christmas lunches in Mosman Park where as a child she did stand-up routines for more family members.

Her husband Frank was also born and bred in Fremantle, “so whenever we head over, like we did at Christmas time, I’m just surrounded by family, either his or mine”.

McQueen again returned to Perth this week, with one-and-a-half year-old son Jimmy in tow, to perform cabaret show Hair to the Throne at Fringe World, featuring her alter ego Rosa Waxoffski, the world’s ‘number one celebrity bikini waxer’.

McQueen first became Rosa in 2003 while in her third year at the National Institute of Dramatic Art and has since taken her to New York, London and Edinburgh Fringe.

“One of our graduation performances required us to observe someone in real life in their profession and perform as that person in a 10-minute monologue for the rest of the school,” McQueen said.

“I decided to do my beautician. We had to observe them over a period of three months without them knowing, so I had to keep coming up with excuses to go back, and as a struggling arts student it was sending me broke.

“She was such a character and always wore top-to-toe leopard print, high heels, had enormous hair and spoke in a thick Eastern European accent; she was 100 per cent committed to her look.”

McQueen said she was so concerned about getting the character right, she never realised how funny she was until the audience started laughing and her teacher suggested she continue performing Rosa.

Fate soon made Barry Humphries her mentor, who she studied with in New York and last year asked her to write Hair to the Throne for Adelaide Cabaret Festival, where Humphries was artistic director.

“It’s a comedy show with singing,” McQueen said.

“I have other characters now who I usually perform in my shows too, but this is just Rosa, so it’s been nice for me to luxuriate in the character a little bit more.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Hair to the Throne

Where: The West Australian Spiegeltent, The Pleasure Garden, Northbridge

When: February 9 to 14

Tickets: www.fringeworld.com.au