Interview

Ian Moseley chats about preparing to play a transgender role in Priscilla

“She’s a wonderful character to play. She’s been through a lot and her hardness on the outside masks her real vulnerability. She’s also got some brilliantly bitchy lines!”

Ian Moseley

Ian Moseley is rehearsing in heels and a skirt for his role as Bernadette in the production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Bernadette is one of the first transgender characters to appear in a musical and Ian is determined to get his portrayal right.

“Priscilla is one of my favourite shows with its themes of tolerance and acceptance, along with all the fantastic disco songs and spectacular costumes.”

Ian Moseley as Bernadette

In the show, Bernadette joins fellow performers Tick and Adam on a battered old bus (nicknamed Priscilla) across the Australian outback to perform a show in Alice Springs. Ian says the dynamic between the three is crucial.

“You’ve got the young guy, Adam, whose cockiness and ease with himself hangs off the coattails of the fight for acceptance Bernadette has gone through. It annoys her and their sparring is very funny. She’s much closer to Tick, who’s struggling with telling his son he’s gay.”

Ian and fellow actors Bryn Hughes (Tick) and Doug Cairns (Adam) recently appeared in Festival Place and the Malls in full drag make-up and fabulously over-the-top outfits to promote the show.

“We certainly turned heads! Lots of people wanted a photo with us.”

Ian hopes everyone will open their mind to enjoy this hilarious, heartwarming show when it comes to the Haymarket from Wed 14 – Sat 17 and Wed 21 – Sat 24 November. Performances at 7.30pm with Saturday matinees at 2.30pm on 17 and 24 Nov.

All tickets for the opening night are £18.50. For the other performances: £23.50 (adults) £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-65s and groups. All prices include a booking fee. Buy tickets online.

Dance captain James Young puts the Priscilla cast through their paces

I Will Survive, Don’t Leave Me This Way, It’s Raining Men...all classic disco songs that feature in the hilarious, heartwarming musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Making sure every dance step, arm flick and hip thrust is right on the button is the responsibility of James Young, who is dance captain for the production.

“The cast are doing a great job,” says James. “They’ve picked up the routines really well. Now I’m being extra picky to make sure they look amazing!”

Headshot of James Young

Headshot of James Young

James is very passionate about Priscilla, Queen of Desert, the story of a Sydney-based performing trio who drive a ramshackle bus across the Australian outback to Alice Springs, finding love, hostility and a few surprises along the way.

“Yes, the show is fun, colourful and a great night out, but it’s also a story of friendship, acceptance and getting through tough times.”

James has been dancing since he was seven, starting with tap and moving onto modern, jazz and ballet. He got his BTEC National Diploma in Performing Acts at Queen Mary’s College and now works with young children as a room leader in a preschool.

As well as dance captain, James is also dancing in the show. He says Priscilla is a great release from a stressful job. “Yes - and what I’m most looking forward is the band call, when all the musicians come together for the first time. You’ve been working in rehearsal for so long with just a keyboard, you can forget just how amazing these songs are! It takes the show to another level, then once you add the amazing costumes, this show is just going to be spectacular!”

Priscilla runs at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wed 14 – Sat 17 and Wed 21 – Sat 24 November. Performances at 7.30pm with Saturday matinees at 2.30pm on 17 and 24 Nov.

All tickets for the opening night are £18.50. For the other performances: £23.50 (adults) £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-65s and groups. All prices include a booking fee. Buy tickets online.

Doug Cairns chats about his Priscilla role

By day he wields a welding torch, creating sets for theatrical productions and corporate events. By night, Doug Cairns is currently immersed in the role of outrageous Sydney-based drag performer Adam, aka Felicia, as he prepares to star in the musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

“I work by myself a lot, so going to rehearsals is a great way to socialise and actually meet people!” he laughs.

“I think I’m perceived as quite a quiet, thoughtful person so I’m loving bringing out the over-the-top side of my personality!”

Doug Cairns

Doug Cairns

As Adam, Doug gets to wear some astonishingly creative and colourful costumes, alongside fellow performers Bryn Hughes who plays Tick and Ian Moseley as Bernadette.

“I’ve always loved dressing up,” says Doug. “I spent weeks preparing my Queen Victoria costume for my Halloween party at university!”

Doug graduated from Warwick last year with a degree in Theatre and Performance Studies. While there he designed the sets for musicals including Cabaret, Anything Goes and Little Shop Of Horrors, as well as playing lead roles. He also got his first taste of Priscilla.

Doug as Felicia

Doug as Felicia

“I was in the play Trainspotting, which is pretty dark and intense, while Priscilla was being staged in the theatre next door. When we came offstage we could hear the Priscilla band playing upbeat songs like I Will Survive and Colour My World.”

“I then watched the film, loved it, and when BATS announced they were doing the show I was encouraged to audition. I’m so glad I did!”

You can see Doug strutting his stuff in Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wed 14 – Sat 17 and Wed 21 – Sat 24 November. Performances at 7.30pm with Saturday matinees at 2.30pm on 17 and 24 Nov.

All tickets for the opening night are £18.50. For the other performances: £23.50 (adults) £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-65s and groups. All prices include a booking fee. Buy tickets online.

Bryn dons his tap shoes

Headshot of Bryn

Headshot of Bryn

Three pairs of tap shoes, a trilby hat, overcoat, a prop violin and an umbrella.  The contents of Bryn Hughes’s rehearsal bag reveal the paraphernalia required when you’re the all-singing, all-dancing leading man in one of the best-loved musicals of all time – Singin’ in the Rain.

“It’s the biggest role I’ve ever played, and the most challenging,” admits Bryn. “My character, Don Lockwood, is on stage nearly all the time, and when I’m not, I’m usually in the middle of a very quick costume change!”

Don is a Hollywood heartthrob from the 1920s, a star of the silent movies whose background as a song and dance man helps him make the transition to ‘talking pictures’.  But it’s more of a struggle for his squeaky-voiced co-star, the demanding diva Lina Lamont. 

“There’s a lot of comedy in the show,” says Bryn. “Lina’s determined her voice should be heard on screen, but Don knows it’ll be a disaster, so a secret plan is hatched...”

Bryn and the rest of the cast have been putting in the hours rehearsing the show’s spectacular musical numbers, including Good Mornin’, Broadway, Make ‘Em Laugh, Moses Supposes and All I Do Is Dream Of You.

They’ve also had great fun filming the movie sequences for the show in the grounds of Worting House, just outside Basingstoke.

But it’s the title number of the show – immortalised by Gene Kelly in the film version – that audiences will be intrigued to see. Will it really be raining on stage? And will Bryn be getting wet?

“Yes!” says Bryn. “As the song goes, ‘I’m dancin’ and singin’ in the rain’ and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing!  It's a clever piece of set design - you’ll just have to wait and see how we achieve it!"

Singin’ in The Rain is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 9th-Saturday 19th May. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 12th & 19th.

All tickets for the opening night are £18.50.  For the other performances: £23.50 (adults)  £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-65s and groups.  All prices include a booking fee.  Buy tickets online.

Bryn in one of his costumes for the filming of the silent movie sequences

Bryn in one of his costumes for the filming of the silent movie sequences

Husband and wife duo as Kathy and Cosmo

Will and Anneka take a break from rehearsal for a quick picture!

Will and Anneka take a break from rehearsal for a quick picture!

“This is a new lease of life for us!”   

That’s Anneka Wass’s view on performing in Singin’ in the Rain alongside her husband Will Keel-Stocker. 

“I’m tap dancing again after a ten year break,” says Anneka. “Fortunately it’s all coming back to me! It’s good to be performing in the evening – after teaching musical theatre at Barton Peveril College all day.”

Anneka plays aspiring actress Kathy Selden, while Will is vaudeville star Cosmo Brown, in BATS’ production of the classic musical about 1920s Hollywood struggling to cope with the introduction of 'talking pictures'.

Both Will and Anneka have impressive musical pedigrees.  Aside from his day job as a product design engineer, Will is a talented drummer who’s performed around the world, and a composer with credits including two songs for the recent Rosamund Pike film United Kingdom.

Anneka is a member of the 1940s vocal trio Three Belles, who’ve performed at vintage fairs and even the Isle of Wight Festival.  The pair first met gigging at Portsmouth University – but Singin’ in the Rain is the first time they’ve appeared together in a musical.

“In fact, it’s the first musical I’ve ever been in!” admits Will. “Anneka is being very patient helping me rehearse my dances!”

The pair couldn’t resist auditioning as Singin’ in the Rain is their favourite film - one of the numbers from the show was also chosen for their first dance at their wedding!

So performing in the show this May looks set to be a very special experience for this married couple – and one they’re loving every moment of bringing to the stage.

Singin’ in The Rain is at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Wednesday 9th-Saturday 19th May. Performances at 7.30pm with extra 2.30pm shows on Saturday 12th & 19th.

All tickets for the opening night are £18.50.  For the other performances: £23.50 (adults)  £15 (16s and under) - with concessions for students, over-65s and groups.  All prices include a booking fee.  Buy tickets online.

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