The man who brought The Queen’s Theatre Rope, The Crucible and Made in Dagenham, Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul is keen to bring another regional premiere of a great Modern Musical. Based on the 1994 Movie, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is the story of three friends travelling across the Australian Outback from Sydney to Alice Springs in a bus that they nickname “Priscilla”.
The night is jam-packed with 70s, 80s and 90s dance floor favourites including I Will Survive, Hot Stuff and I Say A Little Prayer. Although the drag queen’s characters often mime to the songs, the music is performed by a onstage band and a community choir. The miming is unconvincing but it’s over-dramatic tone will always leave you laughing.
Thanks to characters such as Miss Understanding (played by Lemuel Knights) interacting with the audience and actors often spilling out from the stage into the audience via a middle walkway, you feel part of the performance and the the audience was often clapping and singing along with the songs.
The staging is remarkable, with the Australian Outback represented by classic corrugated iron contrasting the feathers and leather of the drag queens. But the biggest surprise of the night was Priscilla, a full sized bus that the actors wheeled around the stage all night.
The whole night was a journey and the biggest journey was that of Tick/Mitzi (played by Tom Giles) and his journey to meet his estranged son. Like a lot of journeys it took a while to reach it’s stride, but it just got better and better during the night and all was forgiven after Tom’s performance of MacArthur Park blew away the whole theatre.
Mark Inscoe appeared to be the most comfortable wearing drag and did a great job as the transgender Bernadette, his one-liners always saved the day and brought the house down laughing. Daniel Bailey played the younger drag queen character Adam/Falicia as he continues is journey to tone down his flirty flamboyance
The whole night was a lot of fun, I lost track of everything that was happening at some points but the truth is there’s not much plot to follow. It’s all about lights, music and dance
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