Jul27

From Sydney to Les Mis ... and everything in between

CREATED ON // Sunday, 27 July 2014 Written by // Trevor Ashley

After a long hiatus, SX’s resident showbiz columnist is back with plenty of juicy, salacious and delightful tales to tell. Cue: audible shriek.

I apologise, it’s been very remiss of me I know. I haven’t written since February. I have meant to but, to be truthful, life got in the way. It’s been a whirlwind of a time and I will elaborate, but let’s get some things covered.

Firstly, I am once again living in Melbourne. I know that there were reports that I was possibly dead (mainly as the Stonewall bartenders had reported me missing from my usual post holding up the bar) but they were fiction. I am very much alive.

Secondly, I have a new job. Yes, I have once again succumbed to the thrills of performing big-budget musical theatre, namely the highest grossing show of all time, Les Misérables. This time, unlike my last few incarnations, I am playing a man (cue: audible gasps from people everywhere)! He’s gross, evil, disgusting and has been described by one reviewer as an “overfed avaricious rat”, which I felt rather proud of.

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Above: Trevor Ashley with the cast of Les Miserables

Finally, and I know this was the question on all of your lips, yes, I am still single (cue: audible sympathetic moan from those of you still reading). Now, I think this has partly to do with the first and second points I have made, and almost nothing to do with me.

So, since I last wrote, I decided to take an extended holiday. It really was time, as after the last few years I felt like I had pumped out more jokes than Joan Rivers, and played more shows than my brain could keep up with. Concerts, cabarets and pantos, you name it, I’d done it, and the long-running musical was looming. So, I booked it. Of course, I couldn’t take a holiday without working a little bit, so there was a drag bag involved. I had literally packed up my life, moved out of my apartment, and said goodbye to Sydney the day after Mardi Gras.

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Above: Trevor Ashley in costume as Thenardier from Les Miserables with Rocky Horror Show star Brendan Irving during a photo opp in Melbourne

The trip was pretty special: ten weeks around the world with a collection of friends in different cities. It began with an extremely relaxing time in Bali with, count them, no fewer than five other drag queens: Tora, Claire, Verushka, Candy and Chelsea. To some the term relaxing would not be used if the six of us were in a room, but we had a ball. From there, Tora and I jumped aboard the Atlantis cruise, picking up Rhonda Burchmore on the way. (That experience of being on a gay cruise with Rhonda and 500 gay men deserves its own column). Singapore to London, then two weeks in New York, a gig in Vienna, a few days in Berlin, a weekend in Florence, a day trip to Venice, a quick jump to Salzburg and then a final gig in Vienna. The morning after I jumped on a plane to land just in time to start Les Mis rehearsals. It really was the trip of a lifetime.

So, what’s the point of this column? I’m not entirely sure, but I think bragging has a lot to do with it. Seriously though, now that my life has settled once again, and I have begun the daily routine of eight shows a week, at least I have the memories to think back on… and material for at least a few new columns, if not a book. Promise I won’t leave it this long again.

Les Misérables is playing now at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. Go to lesmis.com.au

VIDEO: Check out Trevor Ashley speak about his role as Thernardier in Les Miserables

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Trevor Ashley

Trevor Ashley

Trevor Ashley is a singer, actor, writer, entertainer and showbiz extraordinaire. Most recently, he starred as Edna Turnblad in the 2010/2011 Australian production of Hairspray. His column, which offers an insider's view of Sydney's gay scene, showbiz and popular culture, appears in SX every month.

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