Priscilla, Queen of drag acts, gets on her high heels and steps out

PUBLISHED: 15:56 17 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:56 17 October 2017

Dunmow Players rehearse Priscilla. Picture: DUNMOW PLAYERS

Dunmow Players rehearse Priscilla. Picture: DUNMOW PLAYERS

Archant

The award-winning amateur drama company, Dunmow Players present their latest musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Foakes Hall next week and it’s strictly not a family show.

Dunmow Players rehearse Priscilla. Picture: DUNMOW PLAYERS Dunmow Players rehearse Priscilla. Picture: DUNMOW PLAYERS

It’s recommended for over-15s.

There is an 11-year-old in the cast but he just walks on at the end and so far hasn’t enquired what the character Cynthia, the Vietnamese mail order bride does with all those ping pong balls.

For five nights, the hall will be alive with It’s Raining Men, I Say a Little Prayer, Hot Stuff, Go West and I will Survive.

When the company discovered that the rights were available for Priscilla, they wanted to be among the first to stage it.

Dunmow Players rehearse Priscilla. Picture: DUNMOW PLAYERS Dunmow Players rehearse Priscilla. Picture: DUNMOW PLAYERS

It’s expensive to put on and the fundraising has included Abba, Elton and Queen tributes at Foakes Hall, including Priscilla’s director Iain Court looking remarkably like Elton John in September. The show’s producer, Peter Dedman, who choreographed and appeared in the NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association) award-winning Sister Act in Easter 2016 is playing the transgender character, Bernadette.

The all-singing-all-dancing extravaganza has a cast of 18 ranging in age from 11 to 50 who have been in rehearsal since May.

The show is based on an Australian film of 1994. Two drag queens travel across the Australian Outback from Sydney to Alice Springs in a tour bus that they have named “Priscilla”, along the way encountering various groups and individuals. The title refers to the English term “queen” for a female impersonator.

Anthony “Tick” Belrose using the drag pseudonym of Mitzi Del Bra, is a Sydney based performer called to go to the outback to see the son he hasn’t seen since the child was a baby.

He takes with him two other performers, Bernadette, a recently bereaved transgender woman, and Adam Whitely, a flamboyant and obnoxious younger drag queen who goes under the drag name Felicia Jollygoodfellow. The three don’t get on. The bus breaks down and they are rescued by a mechanic called Bob.

Jennifer Miles-Davis who plays Australian grumpy landlady, Shirley said: “The show is hilarious but it’s also poignant.”

From October 24 to 28 at 7.30pm. Tickets, £16/£17 from 07743 703 738.

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