Richie Crowe transforms in to Polly Glamorous for the show at Pirates. | Phoenix Media Mallorca

It doesn’t matter how often I go backstage at a show, it still excites me. Stepping behind the scenes is a privilege, and this time I am being allowed not only to do that, but also get to meet a new cast member for Pirates this season, professional drag queen Polly Glamorous, aka Richie Crowe who plays Madame Fifi. 22 year old Polly arrived in Mallorca in March this year to take on the dual roles of Madame Fifi in Pirates Adventure and the M.C. of Pirates Reloaded, the salty late night version of the popular family show in Magaluf.

Pirates Adventure has been running for 38 years and continues to evolve. The last time I saw it it certainly did not have the character of Madame Fifi in it, but I am about to meet her, or them, or …him? I will have to ask that question.

I ask for where Richie’s dressing room is and the cast member looks at me confused. Polly? Their eyes light up and they show me the way. It’s a chilly 21° inside and the fan is making the application of makeup quite tricky. Every few minutes Polly has to stop to dab away damp patches. “It’s the fan, it makes everything run, but I’m from Ireland, I need the cold!”

Richie Crowe who plays Madame Fifi. Photos: Phoenix Media Mallorca

It’s hot now, how are you coping with the weather? I’m starting to like the climate. II’ve had to accept that I’m just sweating all the time. I share this room with Danny who is from a very cold part of Mexico. We love the cold. So when people come in here, they’re like, isn’t that a bit too cold? But that’s the way we want it!

You came over from Ireland for the season, have you managed to learn any Spanish yet? Not really no, there is a Ukrainian girl in the cast who didn’t speak a word of English or Spanish and she’s on Duolingo every day practicing. We live in the same apartment and I can hear her working on her languages all the time.

You share living and working spaces with other cast members, how is that? When I was living back in Cork, a lot of my friends do drag as well. So it would be “drag” everywhere. Like it’s great to be around, but sometimes you want to talk about something else. But it’s the same here, you choose this lifestyle, it’s your job and because it’s not a nine to five, it also becomes your life.

How did you get the role? I just auditioned and got the role. It was very simple. I had just dropped out of drama school to focus on my drag work so it was perfect timing for me.

What is the difference between being a drag artist and being a female impersonator? Is there one?

Well, I suppose it’s just kind of whatever the person wants. Danny La Rue was from Cork, where I am from, did you know that? He was quite mainstream, but the art form itself was never really intended to be. I think the TV show Drag Race has opened up the world a lot, but that has also come with a lot of backlash which is not the most fun. Queer people get blamed for a lot of things which are not their responsibility, we get called paedophiles and we suffer a lot of physical attacks as well. A library in Cork had to be shut recently because some protestors were upset about a book that was in it about gay people! You know, it’s very rare to have a drag queen in such a straight environment, if that makes any sense.

So would you define yourself as queer? I’m still working out what’s okay to say and what’s not okay. I think that the readers of the Bulletin probably would have the same sort of questions. Yeah, absolutely. I would absolutely identify as queer and I feel like that just encompasses who I am.

What does that mean to you? I suppose it’s not just obviously, an attraction to my own gender, that is a very base level, but I feel like it’s the way I choose to live my life. I would not have this career, if I wasn’t queer. I mean, of course there are straight drag queens, I’m not saying they can’t do it, of course.

When you put on your make up, do you feel transformed into another character? My friends and I see drag as an art form, it’s a performance art. I know, some drag queens have fully fledged characters and come from it from a character point of view. But I would say, I’m just kind of me, maybe a heightened version of myself. I would still be comfortable to get up and talk in front of people without the slap on, but it does help and I feel like you can get away with a bit more. I can be much ruder and I can get away with it!

So when was Polly “born”? I was practising during lockdown with my friends, and she officially arrived on the scene in February 2022. My friends encouraged me to go out in drag, and I did, but looking back I can see how much I have improved. I started working, hosting a show every week. It’s a funny career, we all have fake names, and we all dress up to entertain people.

What’s it been like for you to be in Magalluf? It’s funny, I don’t ever get any trouble when I am in drag. But out of drag I do get a lot of issues as I look quite feminine even though I have a hairy chest. But people feel that they can’t compute that straight away. I think it’s more the way I’m built. Luke (a fellow performer) has long hair but nobody thinks he’s a girl. I’ve had people leaning out of their balconies and yelling at me “Are you a boy or a girl?” I’m just authentically being myself, I don’t know why you are bothered by me existing.

How have you been received by the Pirates’ audiences? In Pirates Adventure, the family show, I am playing Madame Fifi. I sing live which is a new element for the show. I get a lot of people coming up to me at the end of the show complimenting me and telling me how much fun they have had. The girls always love me, sometimes the men aren’t so sure until I make a joke and put them at ease, then everyone relaxes and has fun. And in Reloaded the show tends to be rowdier, louder, and I get to have some fun with any hecklers I might get. People love having their name mentioned in the show, so with hen parties or birthdays or whatever I can give them a shout out which is great. I love hosting and connecting with people. It’s what I am supposed to be doing.

Polly Glamorous is at Pirates Adventure and Pirates Reloaded visit You can get 20% off any show when you book online with this code 20MJML. The last show is traditionally on Halloween every year.