This drag witch is bringing a touch of sorcery to the Adelaide Fringe

Double, double toil and trouble. There’s a witch in our midst and they’re casting a spell on this year’s Adelaide Fringe festival. While they don’t carry a broomstick or (likely) dabble in the black arts, don’t let this fool you. Their captivating performance style, killer makeup skills, and operatic vocal technique will leave you screaming for more.

Wundes aka Aidan Varnas | image supplied

As a Mary’s Poppin stalwart, Wundes is no stranger to the limelight. For the past several years, they’ve had audiences mesmerised by their musical tributes to the likes of Judy Garland, Stevie Nicks, Kate Bush, and Lana Del Rey (to name just a few). I was fortunate enough to gain some insight from the local drag superstar ahead of their upcoming Fringe show Season of the Witch.

In the wide world of drag, it can be difficult for some queens to stand out of the crowd. With the rise in popularity of television shows, such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, it’s easy for some to blend into the background. However, Wundes is not one of these queens and they’ve proven to be a real force of nature. Having refined their distinct style of performance, Wundes has taken the industry by storm with their array of unique talents.

“[I] fell into the world of drag impersonation and gradually developed [my] own style rooted in storytelling and conceptual image-based performance,” says Wundes. “I’m much more reserved and shy when I’m off the stage. My performances allow people to see more of who I am internally.”

While it’s common for drag queens to lip-sync on stage, Wundes is a double-edged sword and a rarity to the Adelaide drag community on account of their singing abilities.

“Although I enjoy the art of mime and impersonation, singing has always been a way for me to break down the fourth wall and let the audience into my world. I’d say that I’m a singer first, and a drag queen second. It just so happens they fit quite nicely together.”

Aside from being a talented performer, Wundes is also an incredible stylist and makeup artist. Their iconic looks have become a staple to the Mary’s Poppin nightlife, as patrons are always wondering what sort of look Wundes will do next. You only have to take a glance at their social media pages to figure out why.

“Transforming physically allows me to embody the power of characters that I love and, in turn, transforms how I see myself.”

– Wundes

Over the past few months, Wundes has been crafting a stage production for this year’s Adelaide Fringe. Titled Season of the Witch, Wundes is said to give a journey through time by paying tribute to a collection of iconic music artists.

“Audiences can expect a new insight into the word ‘witch’ through the music of artists who have, at one stage or another, identified as such.”

Wundes | image supplied

“As a young child, I was influenced by witches depicted in popular culture—from the hook-nosed witches of Disney, to the modern witches of Charmed. Through my teen years, to now, my obsession for yesteryear has grown and I’ve been inspired by a long list of strong women, such as Kate Bush, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Liza Minnelli, and even Joan of Arc.”

As part of their creative process, Wundes takes more of a reflective approach and recognises the value of self-critique. They believe it’s imperative to be “constantly trying to improve on past performances and let each [one] be better than the [time] before.”

Even in the darkest moments, Wundes expresses the importance of remaining true to who you are, trusting in what you’re putting out into the world and “find[ing] what inspires you.” They also voice how you should allow your work to speak for itself and be “completely egoless.”

“Like the moon, life is constantly moving and changing… there is magic and hope all around us.”

Season of the Witch will be performed during the Adelaide Fringe on 28 February and 7 March at Mary’s Poppin. Tickets are limited, so be sure to secure your spot.

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