As Burgess Hill prepares to bid farewell to its theatre, the town’s Musical Theatre Society is set to pull out all the stops and deliver a spectacular final show at The Martlets Hall.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert takes place at the venue, from Wednesday to Saturday, June 20-23.
“The whole cast is so excited about staging this fabulous show,” said director Rebecca Bennett.
“It’s an uplifting and heart-warming tale with outrageous costumes, flamboyant choreography and plenty of sass. And it’s jam-packed with ’70s and ’80s dance floor hits.
“It’s going to be amazing, and we really can’t wait to perform it.
“But there will be mixed emotions for some of the cast members, like Bill Kirwan, Sally Mackenzie and Glenda Bowden, who have been performing on the Martlets stage for over 30 years and are sad it will be the last ever theatre performance at the venue before it is demolished and work begins on the town’s new multiplex cinema.”
Paul Bryant, who plays one of the three male leads, a drag queen called Bernadette, said: “It really is the end of an era for BHMTS. But we figured we should go out with a bang!”
No expense has been spared and the costumes have even been hired from the West End Production, ensuring a visual feast of colour, sequins, wigs and heels galore.
Paul’s wife Michelle, who is chairman of the society, is also in the cast playing one of the three disco divas.
She has been a society member for many years: “We first performed at The Martlets back in 1952 with Pirates of Penzance and after 66 years there is a lot of history and nostalgia for us at this venue, with many wonderful memories of past shows, including Broadway favourites like Fiddler on the Roof and Calamity Jane, right up to our more recent performances of hit shows Chess, Jekyll & Hyde and Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5.
“Although we have performed at other venues over the years, the society considers The Martlets Hall its spiritual home, and it will be quite emotional performing for the last time on the stage we know so well.”
The musical of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is based on the smash hit movie starring Terence Stamp. It follows the comic adventures of three drag queens who journey across the Australian outback in a battered old bus named Priscilla to put on the show of a lifetime. It is a heart-warming tale of self-discovery and acceptance and features a dazzling array of costumes and a non-stop parade of dance-floor classics including ‘It’s Raining Men’, ‘I Will Survive’ and ‘Shake Your Groove Thing’.
The audience are encouraged to don diamante, sequins and feathers, get into the groove and sing along to the well-known hits with the cast for an all-singing, all dancing finale.
Tickets are on sale from www.ticketsource.co.uk/bhmts at £16 per adult. The show is not suitable for children under 14 years.
BHMTS promises a highly entertaining new take on an iconic musical and theatregoers are urged to buy a ticket so they can sit back and feel fabulous.
About the society
Burgess Hill Musical Theatre Society is an amateur society dedicated to staging high quality productions of popular musicals for the local community.
They have an adult group and a youth group who perform shows and concerts.
Their musical range covers the Gilbert & Sullivan shows of the late 19th century and many popular Broadway shows as well.
The youth group recently performed Les Miserables, the most successful show ever staged by BHMTS with sell-out audiences every night. They are currently rehearsing for Mulan, which will be staged in October 2018.
Visit bhmts.org.uk to find out more.
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