Backstage at Priscilla: Adele Parkinson in conversation with Euan Doidge
Tap on to Australia’s most iconic bus and meet the cast riding aboard as they travel the country in 2018. Each fortnight, Priscilla cast member Adele Parkinson switches gears to interview a member of the team and share their stories and insights from behind the scenes of this fabulous Aussie musical.
So much has happened since we last spoke. We, the people of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, have survived seven preview performances, opened the show, partied in our Tuesday best until the clock struck twelve and finished our first eight show week. During this time, I was reminded that opening nights are equal parts magical and terrifying, that a well-lit media wall provides the perfect backdrop for headshot photography, and that glitter definitely doesn’t break down when ingested.
Now that the confetti has settled after the gala opening of Priscilla in Melbourne, I caught up with our Felicia, the devastatingly handsome Euan Doidge.
For a fellow who’s yet to celebrate his 25th birthday, Euan has a painfully impressive resume. He’s done the old “step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch” as Paul in A Chorus Line, broken hearts eight times a week as Marius in Les Miserables, and played the gay AND European pool boy Nikos in Legally Blonde. He paid his dues in the ensemble of Grease, covered the principal role of Lola and played an Angel in Kinky Boots, was nominated for a Helpmann Award at the age of 17 and released a solo album entitled Let It Sing – and those are just the highlights.
Euan is also one of the most low-maintenance performers I’ve ever known. While the rest of the cast (i.e. me) spend our days sleeping late, watching Netflix and communicating through sign language to #saveourgift, Euan is up at 6am doing a double workout, chatting with friends over lunch and probably spending his left over energy rescuing civilians from burning buildings, just because. Then at 7:30pm he struts on to the Regent Theatre stage half-naked and in heels so high they would break my feet off at the wick to play the physically, vocally and emotionally demanding role of Adam/Felicia. He makes the whole thing look as easy as if he were born for it. Ladies and gentlemen, Euan Doidge.
Would you describe yourself as being a confident person?
“Yes, I would. I think many people perceive confidence as being a negative thing. For me, confidence comes from being comfortable with who I am and the choices I make in life. Spending time away from home and being exposed to new life experiences has made me more confident in knowing who I am and what’s important to me. I think there’s something to learn from every experience we have in life if you chose to learn it. But you have to be prepared to leave what’s familiar and step outside your comfort zone.”
Have you always felt this comfortable within yourself?
“When I was younger I always wanted to please everyone. I wanted people to like me. I’ve since realised that I don’t need a million friends, there isn’t enough room. There’s room for those who genuinely care about you as a human and want you to be the very best version of yourself. That’s been a big thing in my life. It took me a while to learn but now I just don’t have any time for jealousy and hate. I don’t spend time with people who make me feel uncomfortable in myself or who judge the choices I make. You’ve got to find and surround yourself with the people who will accept you purely for who you are.”
Do you still get nervous before Opening nights?
“Oh hell yeah! I do get nervous and I think it’s getting worse as I get older! I just don’t like the pressure. When there’s something I’m really nervous about, like an Opening night, I say a prayer, and once I’ve done that I just let it go. Whatever happens, happens.”
What’s your routine on a two show day?
“I’m usually up for 6 hours before the matinee has started. This morning I trained at the gym for an hour, then I did an F45 cardio class, then the matinee show. Now I’ll have a nap and do the second show. I feel so much better getting up and taking the time to wake up my body and my mind before I come in to work. It sounds intense but my body’s used to it now. Yes there will be days when I’m exhausted but I think everyone feels like that now and then regardless of whether they train. You’d be surprised how much energy the body can generate if it needs to. But I do love sleep. Having an afternoon nap is important to me, especially during a show schedule.”
What’s your attitude toward fitness and training?
“I love training. I love feeling good about myself and having a purpose every day that isn’t just work. It benefits me so much with everything that I do, especially shows. Some people get surprised and think that you don’t need to train when you’re doing a show, but I don’t get any fitter from doing the same thing eight times a week. At the gym, you’re using different muscles, testing your cardio levels and doing things that your body isn’t used to. I could barely lift a thing when I first started, and now that my passion for training has developed, I love challenging my body and seeing what it can do.”
What advice can you give to other performers?
“The best advice I can give is: don’t ever compare yourself to someone else. It’s lethal. Learn to be comfortable with who you are. If you don’t get a role, it doesn’t mean that you’re any less than the person who did get it. It just means that something else is coming up. You have to truly believe that things happen for a reason, because they do.”
If you were hoping I would successfully bamboozle Euan into revealing that he is only human, and that he, like me, relies heavily on his morning coffee, evening wine and weekly neck re-adjustment, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Euan is as this interview suggests: a truly generous, self-confident and humble young man… who may or may not be an actual superhuman. #superhumanEuan
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is playing at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre from the 21st January, 2018.
For more information and tickets go to priscillathemusical.com.au