You wouldn’t know it from her demeanour, but Lulu McClatchy, better known in Melbourne and London’s gay scenes as Supergirly, has performed for superstars, had her own sitcom and found time to have a family.
Supergirly’s origins are remarkably simple, and began in the late-'90s in London. “I was singing in a venue in Old Compton Street with another girl at the time, and no one was really listening to what we were doing, so I started to change the words to see if anyone would notice,” says McClatchy. “It was pretty much born out of that. We then had some interest from other venues and agents asking us if we were interested in doing the gay circuit. So we put together a show, took the name Supergirly and started writing material.”
In 1998, the Supergirly duo performed at the Edinburgh Festival, after they’d reached the stars – literally. “We were asked to perform at a private party for Madonna. I just thought it was a drag queen; I had no idea it was going to be Madonna. We got there, and there she was on the couch. It was very surreal. From then on, we got asked to do a lot of celebrity parties. We did parties for Queen, Siobhan from Bananarama, Boy George and Elton John. We became the celebrity party act because we’d go in and take the piss out of whoever was there.”
After a BBC sitcom of the same name in 2001, McClatchy became a bit sick of the whole thing, so the duo broke up. She got married, then pregnant, moved back to Melbourne, and eventually resurrected Supergirly as a solo act in gay clubs, especially DT’s in Richmond. “A lot of the stuff I say and do as Supergirly I would never say myself,” she admits. “When you’ve got the costume on, people forgive and forget. It’s because she is a bit girly and silly. The costume and the wig give you a whole different persona.”
And it’s a character that gay men in particular love. “They appreciate someone who makes an effort and thinks through what they’re doing to do. They’re honest, they show their appreciation, and they’re really loyal. And I go back to DT’s because when I first got back here, they were one of the only gay clubs that would have me.”
Now McClatchy’s taking Supergirly up a couple of rungs with her new show, Return of the Pop Princess. “It’s a theatre show, it’s got a narrative story, it tries to have an arc. I have a whole set for the first time, and having a guy in it gives it a different vibe.”
She met Lyall Brooks, her co-star, last year, but didn’t know he also sang. “I say he looks like Bradley Cooper, which he denies, so now he’s playing him in the show. I figure Supergirly is delusional enough to believe it.
“It’s a challenge for me, doing it as a theatre show, and for me, it’s good to having fresh eyes on a project I’ve been doing for a long time. We’re taking all the elements I’ve always had and using everything and trying to add something new. I have 11 costume changes during the show; I don’t know how that’s going to go yet.”
Five pop songs that get the Supergirly treatment
'Royals' by Lorde
"It’s my new favourite, Even if you don’t know the song very well, the way I do it, you’ll still find it funny."
'What Makes You Beautiful' by One Direction
I’ve written this with specific people in mind.
'Born This Way' by Lady Gaga
I also do ‘Bad Romance’, but this is my new one, and it’s more of a dig at her.
'Moves Like Jagger' by Maroon 5
Lyall sings this one, and it’s something for the ladies – and the gentlemen! He is easy on the eye…
'Oops!... I Did it Again' by Britney Spears
This one used to go down a treat in the UK, but I haven’t done here because I’ve been solo. Now I have a partner in crime for it.