How I became a Female Impersonator

Paul James created his comedy character THE DOWAGER LADY CRABTREE in 1978 and has been performing as her eversince. Here he explains how Lady Crabtree came to life, and what he enjoys about performing her over the last thirty years.

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Author Constance Crabtree ( ago)
@pahoboye Male impersonators were very popular until the time when fashions
changed and women began to wear trousers and a more masculine style of
dress, then it didn't seem quite so funny any more. In the UK performers
such as Vesta Tilley and Hetty King were huge stars, and even people like
Evelyn Laye and Cicely Courtneidge used to dress up as men in their acts.
But, personally, I think there is always something more comical about a man
in a frock than a girl wearing a suit...

Author paul hoye ( ago)
i often wonder why women dont impersonate men...

Author Constance Crabtree ( ago)
@LadyGmarilyn Thank you! Yes, I was in the audience of one of Hinge &
Bracket's early shows when Patrick sang 'If only he'd looked my way" and it
was very moving. I've had so much fun performing over the years - and the
bookings still keep on coming. My only regret is that I can't sing like
Dame Hilda !

Author Gail Young ( ago)
What a lovely man you are! I so loved Hinge and Brackett too! the attention
to detail in their act was amazing, and so funny and believable. Their
singing was brilliant too...When Dame Hilda sang "If only he'd looked my
way..." it was heartbreaking. Just going to find you videos now
Paul...thanks for posting.

Author ActYourAge69 ( ago)
I really enjoyed watching this. Paul James seems like such a nice man, very
honest and gentle. I agree with the other poster. His voice is very
soothing. I hope we get to see more of THE DOWAGER LADY CRABTREE. Also
watch Stanley Baxter in his take on Upstairs/Downstairs playing her
ladyship. It's so funny ! You go Paul James! You have a fan in America.

Author Constance Crabtree ( ago)
@ScreamingPanda57 The books are "The Secret Journals of Queen Elizabeth II"
edited by Constance, Lady Crabtree (Hardback: Columbus Books / Paperback:
Virgin Books) and "The Secret Royal Love Letters" edited by Constance, Lady
Crabtree (Hardback: Virgin Books) The easiest, and cheapest, place to buy
them now is online via Ebay or Amazon.

Author thirlestanelodge2 ( ago)
How fantastic. I am sorry to say I have never heard of Lady Constance. Very
wise observations. She looks wonderful, I am off to watch her in action.

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