We talk to RuPaul's Drag Race UK's River Medway ahead of their performance in the smash hit show Unfortunate, coming to Curve.
We talk to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’s River Medway ahead of their performance in the smash hit show Unfortunate, coming to Curve.

Fresh from complete sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe and around the UK comes this critically acclaimed smash hit parody musical.

Starring Shawna Hamic (Orange is the New Black1776 on Broadway) as ‘Ursula’ and River Medway (RuPaul’s Drag Race UK) as ‘Ariel’, Unfortunate is coming to Leicester and things are gonna get wet!

Join everyone’s favourite Disney Diva, Ursula, as she gives her take on what really happened all those years ago under the sea. With an original hot pop soundtrack and trademark filthy humour, it’s time to take the plunge and dive into this year’s hottest night out.

Cruella told her side, and Maleficent’s had her moment. Now the legendary queer queen is ready to spill, in this tell-all tale of sex, sorcery and suckers. We find out all about the show from Rupaul’s Drag Race UK star River Medway.

Can you share a bit about yourself and how you landed the role of Ariel in Unfortunate?

Hello, my name is River Medway. I am a drag queen from Kent. A few years ago I was on a TV show called RuPaul‘s drag race UK, since then I’ve worked in many areas of the entertainment industry from drag shows to plays, but finally I got myself a musical! Which is amazing, I’ve always loved musical theatre so when this show was auditioning I knew I had to be seen for it and after a few rounds I got the job!

What was the transition into musical theatre like for you and were there any unexpected challenges?

I’ve always loved musical theatre and I’ve done it since I was very young. I trained in musical theatre too, so it’s something I’m very familiar with. This is the first time I’m doing a full scale musical so it’s been a big change to the other drag work I’ve been doing. The rehearsal process was very intense and this show is no joke. It’s a marathon every single night but I love it.

Are there any similarities between your personality and Ariel’s?

I wouldn’t say so much now, but definitely when I was younger. I can see myself in Ariel when I was around her age. I was desperate to get out of my hometown because I was bored and wanted to see the rest of the world. This is very much Ariel’s mindset, so I can definitely play on that in the show.

Considering you are performing in drag as River Medway as Ariel. How did you find crafting a performance within a performance?

It’s very interesting, because when I’m in this character, I really feel like Ariel. There are definitely elements of River but also myself in this character. I like to see Ariel as an amalgamation of lots of things and I definitely get fully engrossed. It’s such a fun character to play every night and keep finding something new.

For those who haven’t seen the show yet, can you tell us a bit about it?

It is an outrageous, filthy, hilarious, heartwarming, parody musical anyone with a soul would absolutely love. It is a complete retelling of the story that you think you know with all original songs and a fantastic cast. You will definitely leave wanting more!

What is your favourite song from Unfortunate?

The title song of course!

What can audiences expect?

Eye watering jokes, toe-tapping bops, and a good night out.

What message do you hope audiences take away from Unfortunate?

It’s a very fun show, but I really hope audiences take something more away every night. The wider themes of acceptance and love for everyone around you.

If you had the opportunity to create a parody of any other Disney film, which would you choose?

101 Dalmatians! I’ll be Cruella. Imagine the costumes!

Are there any roles you would love to play in the future?

I love musicals that incorporate drag. I always loved shows like Kinky Boots and Priscilla but would also love to explore more roles out of drag too!

When did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in performing?

The day I was born! Well maybe a few years after that but pretty early on.

Can you share some of your earliest memories of going to the theatre?

When I was younger I saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Palladium and I think that secured it for me. I was hooked ever since!

Lastly, what advice would you give your younger self at the start of your career in performing?

Don’t ever stop! I’ve always been very determined in my career and I truly believe this is what got me to where I am today. Treat everyone with respect and remember to be the person that you want to work with. Hard work pays off and it’s all worth it.

Unfortunate comes to Curve Monday 8 to Tuesday 9 April, tickets are on-sale now. To find out more and book, visit www.curveonline.co.uk, call 0116 242 3595 or visit Curve’s Box Office in-person.

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