Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Priscilla's High-Heeled Art; Ray Meagher Is Back as Bob in Much-Loved Show

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Priscilla's High-Heeled Art; Ray Meagher Is Back as Bob in Much-Loved Show

Article excerpt

Byline: Seanna Cronin

RAY Meagher is best known for his long-running role as Alf on Home and Away.

But the soap star, who was born and raised on a sheep and cattle station near Roma, is also an accomplished thespian.

With more than 20 UK pantomimes under his belt - ranging from Peter Pan to Aladdin - the Gold Logie winner returns to the stage later this year in Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Meagher will reprise his role as outback mechanic Bob in the 10th anniversary celebration tour of the home-grown musical, based on Stephan Elliott's iconic 1994 film, for its Brisbane run at QPAC's Lyric Theatre in September.

The 73-year-old has had "a couple of gallops" in the role over the past decade, including two stints on The West End in London, the original 2007 Sydney production and a six-week run in Auckland about 18 months ago.

"I'd thought that part of my wretched little career had finished," he jokes.

"I loved it; I love the show and I still love this show. It's fantastic entertainment for the world. Young, old, straight, gay, black or white, it doesn't matter. It appeals to everybody. It's such a good night's entertainment."

In Priscilla, Broken Hill-based mechanic Bob comes to the rescue of drag queens Bernadette, Tick and Felicia when their campervan breaks down.

He forms a close bond with Bernadette, who forces him to re-examine his marriage to the "spitting, clawing firecracker" Cynthia.

"A lot of things have happened over the past 10 years but my perception of Bob hasn't changed," Meagher says.

"The character has to be an honest Aussie bloke from the outback and there's got to be something in Bob that attracts Bernadette. By Bob's standards she's a posh woman of the world. She's been there and done that. She's done more things than Bob's ever dreamed up."

While his co-stars Tony Sheldon (Bernadette), David Harris (Tick) and Euan Doidge (Felicia) spend hours in the make-up chair every night transforming into their characters, Meagher only needs a few minutes to become Bob. …

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