Dunbar joins Priscilla

Nov 19 2015 | By More

Comic to play Shirley in musical

Karen Dunbar has been announced to join Gavin Mitchell as a guest star in Priscilla Queen of the Desert during its three week stay at the Playhouse this Christmas.

The Chewin’ the Fat star, who got her first break at the Arches in Glasgow, is to play the role of Shirley – the butch be-mulleted barkeep of an outback bar where the three drag divas drop in for a drink on their way to Alice Springs in a bus called Priscilla.

Karen Dunbar

Karen Dunbar

As previously reported on Æ, Gavin Mitchell will play the role of Bob, the mechanic who helps the trio when Pricilla breaks down. The production is at the Playhouse Tuesday 15 December 2015 – Saturday 2 January 2016.

Jason Donovan, who is playing one of the trio, Tick, will not be performing on Thursday 24 or Saturday 26 of December.

On the current tour the role of Shirley is usually played by Catherine Mort, who plays one of the Angel Divas who descend from the wings to provide the backing track to the drag lip-synch sequences.

Taking over the role for the Edinburgh run, Karen Dunbar will be able to get her comedic teeth into a slanging match which Shirley has with the three drag queens – before all four break out into a version of I Love the Nightlife, the Alicia Bridges disco hit.

Best known for comedy, pantomime and television, Dunbar has some strong theatre credits to her name. Most recently she was Martha in the Lyric Belfast production of Can’t Forget About You which transfered to the Glasgow Tron in June. She was also part of the all-female cast in Phyllida Lloyd’s production of Henry IV at the Donmar Warehouse in London.


Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, EH1 3AA
Tuesday 15 December 2015 – Saturday 2 January 2016.
Tickets and details: Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Edinburgh Playhouse


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