I dropped into the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue last week to see my dear friend and neighbour from Balmain strutt his stuff on the West End stage.
The Wonderful Tony Sheldon is starring - alongside Jason Donovan - as Bernadette in the London version of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. And what a star he is, my darlings! As Bernadette (gorgeous blue frock, centre stage), he totally steals the show, with his warm, sympathetic portrayal of the ageing transexual performer (never drag queen!) whose glory days are behind her.
Tony tells of how Terence Stamp, who created the role in the original film, came to see him twice in the Sydney production and, emotionally speaking, handed over "Bernadette Bassenger" to his safe-keeping. She couldn't be in better hands - I've seen darling Tony play the classics, comedy, cabaret and musical theatre over the years, and he's a top performer in every theatrical genre. In fact I'm tempted to offer him the part of moi, Mr Mikey himself, in any adaptation to stage or screen of my little life story... even if he is a few years older than my good self and not exactly South London born and bred.
Still, he can act, sing, lip-sync and shake a mean tail feather with the best of them - and he is the best of them in Priscilla, without a shadow of a doubt. In my opinion, those boys, Jason and Oliver, would fall apart without the experience, talent and perfectionism of the lovely Tony; he is the heart of the show!
And he was all heart and hospitality backstage, sitting in his dressing gown and false eyelashes while we chatted about old times in Balmain... I was pleased to see a copy of Mr Mikey's Ladies displayed on the coffee table - not just for my benefit, I hope, Tony!
Luv ya, Tony - keep kicking those lovely legs xxxx