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Priscilla, Queen of the Desert starts tonight at the Cambridge Corn Exchange




The popular musical, starring Joe McFadden, begins tonight (Monday, February 10) and runs until Saturday (February 15).

Joe McFadden
Joe McFadden

Everyone’s favourite Aussie drag queens are about to shimmy back into Cambridge in a glittering new musical production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Many celebrities can say they’ve been on the popular BBC series Strictly Come Dancing, but not many can say they’ve won it.

Actor Joe McFadden is one of this select few, scooping first prize – along with his dance partner Katya Jones – in 2017.

This experience of wearing flamboyant costumes, displaying boundless energy and ‘tearing it up’ on the dancefloor is bound to come in handy when the upbeat Priscilla, Queen of the Desert starts its six-day run tonight (February 10).

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

The role is something of a departure for the 44-year-old, who is probably best known – at least before Strictly – for appearing in much-loved television series such as Casualty, Holby City and Heartbeat.

Speaking to the Cambridge Independent from Nottingham, a stop on the tour, Joe says that his time on Strictly is one of the reasons why he accepted the role of Tick/Mitzi in the production, which is based on the 1994 Oscar-winning film.

“I do like to challenge myself, I do like to not repeat too often the roles that I play,” he explains, “and this couldn’t be more different from anything that I’ve done before. That was one of the conscious reasons why I thought it would be such a good idea to do it, challenging what I think I’m capable of and other peoples’ perceptions possibly...

“I don’t really think too much about that stuff but that was certainly a reason for doing it.”

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Joe continues: “I’d seen it before in London and was just blown away by it. It’s such a fantastic story, the characters go on such a journey, and it’s such an entertaining evening that also manages to be quite thought-provoking – and it perhaps portrays a side of life that a lot of people aren’t that familiar with.

“It’s such a vibrant, exciting, sparkly tale that I couldn’t really say no.”

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Is Joe – who says that he never would have imagined doing anything like Strictly 10 years ago – a fan of the movie, which is something of a cult classic and stars Guy Pearce as Adam/Felicia and Hugo Weaving as Joe’s character, Anthony ‘Tick’ Belrose/Mitzi Del Bra?

“Yeah, I love the film,” he says. “They do such an amazing job... and the great thing about the musical is it gets the best bits of the film and adds to it.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

“There’s so many other great songs that aren’t in the film that really add to the drama and add to the story. It’s one of those rare musicals where the music really furthers the action and furthers the narrative.

“The songs are absolutely the right songs at the right time and you learn a lot more about each character from them singing the songs.”

The show features a dazzling array of stunning costumes and high-energy dance-floor classics including It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, I Love the Nightlife, and many more.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

The story revolves around three friends who embark on an adventure, hopping aboard a battered old bus bound for Alice Springs to put on the show of a lifetime. Their epic journey is a heart-warming story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance.

Joe says that the tour has been going “amazingly well”, adding: “It’s really gathering momentum, we’re pretty much sold out this week in Nottingham and the audiences just seem to be loving it. They’re all dancing at the end, all on their feet every single night – the response really couldn’t be better.”

Joe McFadden and Jason Donovan
Joe McFadden and Jason Donovan

This adaptation is co-produced by none other than Jason Donovan. “He’s been a very encouraging, very positive influence,” says Joe.

“His advice has been invaluable because he played the part for five years – on the road – so he knows the show inside out, and it’s been great having him on board.”

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert runs from Monday, February 10 to Saturday, February 15, 7.30pm each night, with 2.30pm matinee performances on the Thursday and the Saturday.

Tickets: £26-£40.50.Box office:

cornex.co.uk.

Read more:

Strictly Come Dancing stars heading to Cambridge

Strictly Come Dancing's Ian Waite on his new stage show and the 'Strictly Curse'

Louise Redknapp interview: ‘Not everything is black and white’

Jason Donovan: 'Life is not all Disney moments'



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