Tag Archives: Mark Inscoe

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – 3 Stars


Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Reviewed – 1st May 2018


“rough around the edges, let down by uncertainty”


In a pink bus dubbed ‘Priscilla’, two drag queens and a trans-woman travel across the Australian outback to perform at a venue in Alice Springs. The unlikely three run into a series of surprises on the way, some hysterical, some considerably more serious, but the biggest surprise of all awaits them at their destination. Outrageous and glitter covered, the journey is underscored by Tick’s anxieties surrounding his pending reunion with his son, and Bernadette’s own romantic journey. Based on the 1994 hit Australian film ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ and adapted into one of the pioneering jukebox musicals for the stage, this is a cult favourite featuring hits from across the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Mark Inscoe’s Bernadette is the most consistently strong performance of the night. Glamorous, warm and always ready with a biting comment, Inscoe delivers this part with the class and professionalism she deserves and when it comes to the lip syncs Inscoe is impossible to take your eyes off. He looks considerably more comfortable in drag than his fellow actors, and commands the stage unquestionably. Inscoe’s performance is a clear example of the level this whole production needs to reach. Daniel Bailey’s first dance sequence as Adam/Felicia is fantastic – explosive, committed and dynamic. Unfortunately Bailey is unable to bring this energy to his acting. He feels unsure and clumsy, and rather fades into the background, particularly in the larger scenes. Tom Giles as Tick/Mitzi gets progressively stronger throughout, and shines in his show-stopping delivery of ‘MacArthur Park’. This a stand out moment, and he single handedly elevates the energy of the whole production. The relationship between Bernadette and Tick is particularly lovely, genuine and believable, and both Inscoe and Giles deliver moving performances in their more tender moments.

The main cast are joined by a lively community chorus, and the use of actor musicians in the show is a lovely addition which also provides visual variety to a stage, that is otherwise quite bare. Whilst the bus itself is cleverly designed by Joanna Scotcher, the cast are forced to work harder than they might otherwise need to, to generate the feeling of spectacle required. Mark Howland’s lighting design doesn’t help either, overly dark at points and less dynamic than I was hoping to see.

The chorus makes a fantastic sound which is at its best in the slower, harmony-based pieces, however in the faster numbers, particularly in the first half, the vocal entries are often uncertain and late, though the second half picks up in terms of energy and momentum. The vocals are frequently overpowered by the orchestral accompaniment and certain actors struggle without choreographed movement. This is a show whose spectacle relies on these chorus numbers being as impactful and as tight as possible, and it does struggle here.

Glitter, drag queens and a pink bus – if this doesn’t recommend a show, I don’t know what will. This production captures the fun, excitement and tenderness of the story, and is supported by some brilliant performances. Unfortunately it does feel rough around the edges, let down by uncertainty, however I hope that these issues can be solved by more rehearsal over the course of the run as this production is alive with potential.


Reviewed by Amelia Brown

Photography by Mark Sepple



Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch until 26th May


Interview with star of the show – Mark Inscoe


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Interview – Mark Inscoe

With previews starting this week, the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is to be home for the next month to the regional professional premiere production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. We speak to the actor reviving his West End role of Bernadette …

Mark Inscoe


‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ is famous both as a film and as a stage show. How and when did you first come across the story?

Not long after its release. I’ve always been a fan of Australian cinema since seeing ‘The Year my Voice Broke’. Priscilla fast became a favourite.

You are reviving the role of Bernadette having first performed it nine years ago in the West End. Did you ever hope or imagine that you would get a chance to return to the part?

It’s been a dream to return to this role, it’s one of my favourites. To be involved in this exciting reimagining of the show, I’m finding a lot more depth and new ways of playing the wonderful script.

How different will Bernadette be this time around, if at all? 

She’s essentially the same classy, quick witted, sensitive lady but it’s just the subtleties and nuances that are enhancing her character.

What’s been the highlight of rehearsals so far?

Working with my first actor / musician company. I’m in awe of their fantastic talent! 

What is your favourite part of the process of putting a play onstage?

Often with a musical, the sitzprobe is a highlight of rehearsals, but with this production every day is a sitzprobe as the instrumental accompaniment has to be integrated as we go along.

Did you always know you wanted to be an actor? 

No. I trained as a geologist. But gained a lot of amateur experience at university.



You predominantly work in theatre. Is it your favourite medium to work in, and if so why?

Yes it is, I love the live experience and the challenges of achieving my best possible performance for every new audience.

Is there a dream role you would love to play? 

I would love to play Sweeney Todd.

What do you think the role of theatre is in our society today?

Predominantly to entertain and provide an escape for the audience. But also to challenge and educate.

Do you have any advice for young or emerging actors or creatives more generally?

Just listen to advice, always be open to learn. Be confident in your own strengths and abilities.

Finally, what are you most excited about in this upcoming production? 

I’m excited to see the reaction to what I know is a very wonderful new version of this joyful show.


Mark was talking to Amelia Brown

Photography courtesy Queen’s Theatre





Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

27th April to 26th May



Other Interviews
Keir Charles | Quiz | Noël Coward Theatre 
Peter McGovern | The Comedy About a Bank Robbery | Criterion Theatre