Review: Priscilla Queen of the Desert
All images courtesy of Darren Bell
The fabulous journey of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance is at the Lyceum until 7 March.
It’s hard to think that it’s over 25 years since Priscilla Queen of the Desert first hit movie screens. Such was its success that a transition to the stage was inevitable and it’s been wrapping up audiences in a huge feather boa since 2006.
This version, produced by Mark Goucher, Jason Donovan, Gavin Kalin, Matthew Gale and Laurence Myers in association with Nullarbor Productions and MGM on Stage, had everything you would expect from a fun-filled night at the theatre – great performances, great songs and lots of feathers, glitter and high heels.
Joe McFadden is the name you see at the top of the programme; he was great as Tick, the veteran drag queen Mitzi who sets three friends on a life-changing journey across the Australian outback. But special praise should be reserved for understudy Justin-Lee Jones, who stepped into the role of Adam/Felicia seamlessly and really shone throughout the near two-and-a-half hour show.
Beyond the glitz and glamour there’s a real sensitive side too; this is a story of acceptance and whilst the film gave a positive portrayal of the LGBT community and introduced these themes to a mainstream audience, the homophobia and abuse suffered by the main characters is still pertinent today.
As Tick, Adam and transgender woman Bernadette (Miles Western), journey towards Alice Springs in the bus, which they nickname Priscilla (which was fantastic by the way), they experience this first-hand. Of course they meet some wonderful people too, not least Bob the mechanic (Daniel Fletcher) who helps them along their way.
Think of Priscilla though and you’ll think of the costumes, the music, and maybe the odd innuendo or two – this production delivers on every level.
We were singing ‘It’s Raining Men’ all the way back to the car.