Priscilla Queen of the Desert UK tour 2013
Stage version of 1994 film with Jason Donovan returning to role of drag queen Tick
When The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert hit cinema screens 20 years ago, the tale of three Aussie drag queens on an epic road trip, became a cult classic, its high-octane pop soundtrack and madcap wardrobe making it a star-spangled shoe-in for a stage reinvention. And reinvent itself it has. Following success on Broadway and the West End, the musical rolls into Edinburgh this March, with Jason Donovan returning to the role of drag queen Tick.
‘I never wanted to be a musical star; I’m an actor who sings,’ announces Donovan after a pensive pause. It's a bold proclamation for a man best known -- post Neighbours and duets with Kylie -- for donning Joseph’s technicoloured dreamcoat and camping it up as Rocky Horror’s Frank N Furter, before more recent dalliances on Strictly Come Dancing and as a judge on ITV's so-so search for a Jesus, in Superstar. For Donovan, though, it’s about going where the opportunities take him.
‘It’s a chance to return to a role I love, take it out again and really explore it. With Priscilla it’s about the marriage of a good story with some great songs: it works because it captures the audience’s imagination and gives them characters to care about.’
Certainly, songs by Madonna, Donna Summer, Cyndi Lauper and the Village People ensure a good night out. ‘Shows like Glee and Hairspray have really changed the way people look at a musical like this,’ says Donovan, ‘so hopefully people will just come along and enjoy it.’
Edinburgh Playhouse, Mon 4--Sat 9 Mar