05 December 2023

The story behind Priscilla the Party

It’s been 30 years since the film, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, burst onto our screens. Starring Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp, it was a worldwide hit thanks to its positive portrayal of LGBTQ+ individuals and themes. It won an Academy Award in 1995 and was adapted for the stage, opening in Sydney in 2006. The musical came to London’s West End in 2009, followed by an introduction on Broadway in 2011. It scooped a Laurence Olivier Award in 2010 and a pair of Tony Awards in 2011.

In celebration of this riotous, joyful adventure, the musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, is now a party. Audiences can dust off their wigs and heels, and enjoy the very best interactive theatre in London with this show that celebrates all things drag and LGBTQ+. Taking place at HERE at Outnet, next to Tottenham Court Road tube station, you’ll be transported to the Australian outback for a chance to experience the fun with dining options, drinks and even a chance to get on the dance floor.

But before we offer further details of this immersive play in London, let’s recap on the original story.

The story of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

It’s 1994 and Sydney-based drag queen Anthoney “Tick” Melrose (stage name Mitzi Del Bra) accepts an offer from his ex-wife Marion to perform his drag act at a resort in Alice Springs, a small town in the Northern Territory. He persuades a couple of friends - a recently bereaved trans woman named Bernadette Bassenger and a flamboyant drag queen called Adam Whitely (stage name Felicia Jollygoodfellow) - to join him. The trio set out in a lavender bus, which they name “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”, across the outback to Alice Springs.

The four week trip sees them meet a variety of characters. They perform their act to a group of friendly Aboriginal Australians and encounter the hostility of homophobia in rural Australian town, Broken Hill. Priscilla is vandalised and subsequently breaks down in the desert, where she is lovingly repainted by Adam. It’s here that Tick reveals he is still married to Marion, and that the trip is a favour to her.

Back on the trail, they are joined by Bob, a mechanic from a small town. When Adam is nearly mutilated by a homophobic gang, Bob and Bernadette come to his aid. The incident brings the quartet closer together, enabling them to resolve their differences and fulfil Adam’s dream of climbing Kings Canyon in full drag dress.

When they arrive in Alice Springs, Tick has another surprise for his friends - he has an eight-year-old son called Benjamin. Having not seen him for many years, Tick is nervous about revealing his profession and homosexuality to his son, but discovers Benjamin already knows this and accepts him. When the contract in Alice Springs comes to an end, Tick and Adam head back to Sydney with Benjamin, while Bernadette and Bob stay on.

If you’re a fan of the film and the musical, don’t miss the chance to experience immersive theatre in London with Priscilla the Party. Performing from 1 March to 30 September 2024, it’s sure to be a wild ride - and with a range of seating options available, you can be as immersed in the action as you choose. Book with KX Tickets today.