“Phenomenon... that’s the word!” says Philip Childs.
The show is Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical which plays Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre from September 14-19, with Philip in the role of Bob.
Based on the smash-hit movie, the feel-good international hit sensation Priscilla is the heart-warming, 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.
It comes complete 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.
“I have been involved with the show on and off for about 18 months,” Philip said. “I did the last few weeks of the previous tour in 2014. I had never seen it before. When I knew I was going to audition, I thought I would see it in my local theatre in Milton Keynes. I live just outside Aylesbury. And it just knocked me out! I was thinking ‘Why have I never seen this before!’ From the moment the first notes are played, you have got a smile on your face and a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye. People just come out buzzing.
“I met up with a guy last night who described himself as a ‘Priscilla Virgin’ and he was saying he had just had the best night ever. It wrings out all the emotions from all the orifices.
“The show is loosely based on the film. It’s about three drag queens that embark on a journey form Sydney across the desert to Alice Springs because one of them in a previous relationship had fathered a child and was obviously still in contact with the mother but had not seen the child for several years.
“He drags - for want of a better word! - along two friends, and they go on this battered old bus which is called Priscilla Queen of the Desert.”
What follows is a road movie on stage: “It’s their adventures, their laughs and their tears and their bust-ups with each other and with interesting people they meet along the way. I play Bob, the mechanic. He is a down-to-earth, ordinary sort of bloke. When he first meets them, he has never met anything like them before. They are so completely off his radar. He does not know what the hell they are, but he offers to help them and attempt to fix their bus. It is all an alien world to him, but he starts to feel a strange, natural attraction for one of the drag queens...”