Queen of mu­si­cals gets neigh­bourly

Get ready for the ride of your life as the award-win­ning mu­si­cal Priscilla Queen of the Desert re­turns to Bucks due to pop­u­lar de­mand. Camilla Good­man chats to Jason Dono­van about his role, why the show is so pop­u­lar and wear­ing heels

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AC­CORD­ING to my Mum, I have been a fan of Jason Dono­van since I was a baby when I used to sing along to Jason Dono­van’s Neigh­bours theme tune in my high­chair. So I was in­cred­i­bly ex­cited when I was given the op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­view him about his role of Tick in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which is com­ing to the Ayles­bury Water­side Theatre on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 26 to Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 31.

For those who are like me and are not fa­mil­iar with Priscilla, it is based on the smash-hit movie and is the heart­warm­ing, up­lift­ing ad­ven­ture of three friends who hop aboard a bat­tered old bus search­ing for love and friend­ship and end up find­ing more than they could have ever dreamed of.

With a daz­zling ar­ray of out­ra­geous cos­tumes and a hit pa­rade of dance floor clas­sics in­clud­ing I Will Sur­vive, Hot Stuff, Fi­nally, Boo­gie Won­der­land, Go West, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and I Love The Nightlife and more.

Aus­tralian hunk Jason Dono­van is no stranger to the role of Tick. He has played it pre­vi­ously in the West End and on its last UK tour.

“It’s like I never went away,” he ex­plained. “It’s a great part and it’s a great feel good show. There’s a good mar­riage be­tween me and this show, I re­ally en­joy the au­di­ence’s re­sponse, it’s a great ac­tor’s piece, it’s a mod­ern mu­si­cal, it’s quirky and it’s Aus­tralian, so it ticks a lot of boxes for me.”

Jason has a whop­ping 12 cos­tume changes in the show and he also dons some pretty im­pres­sive high heels that even I, a high heel ad­dict, would strug­gle to walk in.

“High heels and me go back a long time,” Jason said. “I’ve never had any prob­lems with heels, I deal with them quite well. It’s the cos­tume changes which is the ex­haust­ing thing, it’s quite hard work try­ing to keep up. I’m not 22 any more, not that I ever have been in this show, I started this show when I was about 40, but it’s tir­ing, it’s the most tax­ing thing to do I think.”

I asked Jason why he thinks the mu­si­cal is such a hit with the au­di­ences.

He said: “It’s quirky, it’s got won­der­ful songs, it’s colour­ful, it’ se­ri­ous, it’s some­thing that’s a bit wacky, and edgy and it’s got a won­der­ful heart. It’s mu­si­cal vi­a­gra.

“It’s a cool piece of theatre, it’s mod­ern and it’s young and it puts a smile on a lot of peo­ple’s faces.”

Jason is no stranger to the stage and has ap­peared in a host of hit mu­si­cals, but this one has a spe­cial place in his heart.

He added: “It’s hard to choose a favourite role. This one stays with me, I love this mu­si­cal, and I feel like Tick is my role. How­ever, I love all sorts of shows, Sweeney Todd was an in­cred­i­ble role to play as well.”

Talk­ing about his char­ac­ter, Jason said: “Tick is con­fused. He’s gay with a wife and chil­dren. He de­cides to go on a trip and put on a drag show to fully dis­cover who is his and to see if he’s ac­cepted. He meets two friends along the way, a trans­gen­der woman and a gay ec­cen­tric. It’s a real mix­match of char­ac­ters. It’s about their jour­ney and di­ver­sity.”

The show has an age guid­ance of 15 plus.

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