They sold out when they played the Regis Centre in Bognor for the first time last year. Now they are back for more.
The Lady Boys of Bangkok are at the Regis Centre on Tuesday, June 5 on their 20th-anniversary tour.
Binky Beaumont, of producers Gandey World Class Productions, recalls a small production was seen by producers Carol and Phillip Gandey in Pattaya more than 22 years ago.
“We had basically created the Chinese State Circus which was touring and doing very well. We just wanted to put something else alongside. We thought about doing a cabaret show and then thought about doing something better. Carol and Phillip had seen something in Pattaaya and they started talking to one of the directors about looking into the possibility of bringing it over here.
“The first year we did it, ten in the cast came over and we put them in an arena tent. It was very small, but the potential was there, and we thought that if we were going to do it, we should think about doing it on a different scale. We decided to do it as an old-style 1970s night club with tables and chairs, but still in a big top. But when you have got to cater for 400 to 500 people seated, we were discovering that it was taking five days to move it. If you finished on the Sunday, you wouldn’t be performing again until the Friday and yet you were still having to pay them. So eventually we thought about going into theatres. We were not sure whether it would work without that unique atmosphere, so we decided to change the shows for the theatre. We had a set built. This was about 12 years ago, and it has worked really well.
“Lady boys are what is called the third sex. They are accepted as the third gender. It is not seedy. It is not crude. They are just boys that like to be ladies. There are all very glamorous and very beautiful, but their passports say that they are male Thai nationals. People sometimes look twice at their passports when they are travelling, but they are males who like to present themselves as very glamorous females.”
As for the show, you can expect the music and the choreography of Lady Gaga.
“We will also look at all the latest pop bands and pop songs. We find all the latest music and we put it together in our productions and give it everything you would expect in the latest West End show. We have got Shirley Bassey music and Take That music and Ed Sheeran music. And we have got all the favourites like YMCA and Tina Turner. It is the best cabaret show touring in the UK.
“It is now an annual event in many cities and attracts a huge diverse mixed audience from all walks of life and age groups who come to watch amazing choreographed dance routines, more than 400 stunning sequined costumes in a dazzling two-hour show performed by the most beautiful stunning showgirls in the world… who just happen to be boys.
“Some of the cast and crew will work and then at the end continue with their lady boy lifestyle or they will go back and live as a boy. But it is very prestigious for them to come over here. They can earn five times what they would get back home. Each year Phillip and Carol go over and audition. They are great people. They are very hard-working, loyal people, and we are very fortunate that our production has just got bigger and bigger. This year we have spent half a million pounds on new sets and costumes for the tour. Everything has to be made by hand, and it looks fantastic.”
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2