Tag Archives: Drag

‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’: Review

By Megan Potterton

Girls just wanna have fun! ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ arrives at the Theatre Royal Plymouth this week. An explosion of colour, comedy, dance and disco tunes; this production is guaranteed to have audiences dancing and singing along in their seats from the moment the curtain opens.

‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ follows the story of Tick (Joe McFadden), Bernadette (Miles Western) and Adam (Nick Hayes), a trio of performers who embark on an epic road trip from Sydney to Alice Springs (in the Australian outback) to perform in a drag show. Unbeknown to Bernadette and Adam, Tick has ulterior motives for accepting the job at the casino in Alice Springs: to visit the wife he left behind and to meet his son for the first time. In a tale of friendship, self-discovery and self-expression, the three performers make the journey of a life time on board ‘Priscilla’, their battered old bus that transports them to the remote resort town. Featuring disco hits including ‘I Will Survive’, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ and ‘Boogie Wonderland’, this musical truly has fun at its heart.

The costumes are fabulous, the singing breathtaking and the choreography simply extraordinary. This production is, thanks to the talented cast and production team, a feel-good, laugh-out-loud masterpiece that will have you dancing and singing along in no time.

Nick Hayes stands out for his energetic and flamboyant performance as Adam and delivers his lines with fantastic comedic timing. Joe McFadden also creates some heart warming moments as Tick, particularly alongside the young actor playing his son. Although a medley of ‘Always On My Mind’ and ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ upon their meeting may sound peculiar, in the context of this show it fits absolutely perfectly.

Miles Western also does a fantastic job of portraying the complex character of Bernadette, a transgender woman who has more life experience than the other characters. Although a highly confident performer, Western also successfully hints at the more delicate and sensitive side of Bernadette’s personality throughout the show.

If you’re looking for a fun, cheesy night out full of laughs, glitter and disco hits, tickets are still available for ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ at the Theatre Royal Plymouth this week. The show runs until Saturday 25th January and you can purchase tickets here: https://theatreroyal.com/whats-on/priscilla/

Introducing Virina Flower

By Keiran Potter

Though the UK is considered one of the most accepting countries in the world in regard to the LGBTQIA+ community, it is important not to ignore the fact that there is still so much work to do. Until every single queer person feels at home in their own skin we cannot rest. 

That’s why I reached out to several Plymouth Queer nightlife personalities, in order to highlight how Pride has no opening hours. The fight goes on long into the night but so does the fun. Here’s an insight into a drag queen’s perspective of Pride in our city.

Virina Flower (@VirinaFlower), 23, grew up in Ukraine, and takes drag inspiration from their relationship with her/his Mother. Virina represents the unifying power that queer arts have. Drag performance in particular invites people from all walks of life, all abilities, all races, all genders, to inhabit the same space. A space where we’re all just people; the way it should always be.

When asked what advice she would give to queer youth in Plymouth, Virina said, “Be you. I know it sounds cheesy but be openly you. The queer scene here is rising and now that I have the residency at OMG Plymouth I feel like I have a responsibility to encourage people to be free and open. We will always have homophobia/transphobia, but you will never live forever.”

The LGBTQIA+ community in Plymouth is accepting of everyone and has room for a diverse group of performers and queer artists; a family that is ever growing. Virina explains that this includes, “Femme queens like Dixie Macarbe, Trans queen/king Casenovah, a lyric writer and cabaret act like Dex Amfetamine, and even some burlesque representation such as Lady Shakira Diamond.” The list does not stop there however. Plymouth is also home to “Beauty gurus like Arabela ( Jonathan), and of course the traditional British cabaret style Mary Hinge, who also happens to be the current mother of the scene”.

Virina adds, “Each day [in Plymouth] I meet more and more people. If they are confused and they don’t know about the community, then I take my time to make sure they feel comfortable speaking about the LGBTQIA+ community and our struggle. Usually the results are positive.”

So, if you’re feeling invisible, need some support and can’t seem to find it, look no further than the rhinestone doors of OMG Plymouth and The Swallow, where people will call you family no matter who you are.

Virina wants to be a voice for the queer community and do what they love full time. She explains that it is important to be visible, as for every queer artist that is being recognised and celebrated, there are hundreds of non-queer artists. She says that the queer youth of this generation deserve representation, and I couldn’t agree more.

I thought it was important to mark the end of Pride Month by emphasising that we need to celebrate ourselves every single day for the rest of our lives, not just for 30 days. We deserve to be heard loud and clear all year round. So, if you’re a young queer person reading this: find your tribe, be seen when you’re ready. You have a safe space wherever you are, if you are surrounded by likeminded people. Now be proud, you are incredible. 

Pride in Plymouth is coming up in the next month. This will be a time to celebrate the beautiful queerness of Plymouth. I’m sure Virina and many more amazing people will be there, so why don’t you head up to Plymouth Hoe and say hello? Whether you’re queer or just want to show your support for the community, it’ll be a beautiful day to celebrate.

I’ll let Virina close this article, as she solidifies the importance of Queer art. She says, “Pride to me is a feeling. I try to take pride season as an opportunity to be visible. Maybe one day when I’m walking in town in full drag, a kid or a teen or maybe even an adult will look at me and think, ‘Look at him being himself and happy! Maybe it’s not all that bad.’ Be proud! This is our season and our time!”

Happy Pride!