REVIEW: Priscilla Queen of the Desert
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Review: Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mayflower, 14 September 2015
Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical is back, and this time the bus is on tour! Following sell-out productions on Broadway and in the West End, four-time WhatsOnStage.com winner Priscilla has taken the UK by storm and is at the Mayflower until the Saturday 19 of September – and the message from our reviewer Beccy Conway is to snap up tickets while you still can!
Review: Priscilla Queen of the Desert – Dance Anthems
After hitting screens in Stephan Elliot’s 1994 Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Tick, Bernadette and Felicia took to the stage in Sydney for the first time in 2006 and Priscilla The Musical was born. Featuring dance floor anthems ‘I Will Survive’, ‘Boogie Wonderland’, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ and many more, you’d better be prepared to for a sing-a-long.
Duncan James, pop star and television personality, takes the lead as Tick, a drag queen who spends his time as alter-ego Mitzi. But Mitzi has a surprising past, as friends Bernadette and fellow drag queen Adam [Felicia] are soon to discover, when the trio set off on a mysterious roadtrip across Australia, performing to crowds not quite as in touch with their feminine sides as themselves. Mitzi’s character reassesses what it means to be a good father. The exuberance, combined with vulnerability, which James brings to the role, both make for a great lead.
Simon Green’s performance as transsexual woman Bernadette is sassy and hilarious. The audience empathises with Bernadette immediately, wanting nothing more than for her to find her happily ever after.
For me, Adam Bailey steals the show. His portrayal of Adam’s alter-ego Felicia is mischievous and brazen, and the banter with Green’s Bernadette has the audience laughing aloud. Yet, throughout the show moments of tender support between the three friends comes across wonderfully, providing the story with a whole new depth that might not be believed possible from simply rifling through the flamboyant programme.
Any show in which the costume design include angels, gladiators, dancers dressed as giant paintbrushes and cupcakes, and funeral attendees with exposed false derrières, should – not – work. But it just does!
Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner’s multi award-winning array of costumes mean you’d better not blink too often because you’ll miss something fabulous. A vivacious ensemble and hilarious supporting members such as Miss Understanding (Callum Macdonald), performing choreography that makes one tired just watching it, mean Priscilla is not to be missed.
Exploring issues of homophobia and acceptance, friendship and fatherhood, and topping it all off with a soundtrack guaranteed to get you dancing, Priscilla The Musical has something for everyone. You won’t be able to wipe the smile from your face!
Star rating: 5/5