News Column

Outrageously camp and deliciously extravagant

July 24, 2013


WELL stone the crows and call me Mitzi if this corker of a colourful show isn't one of the best to visit the Royal Concert Hall this year.

The musical, based on Stephen Elliott's 1994 cult classic, tells of two drag queens and a transsexual who embark on the drive of a lifetime from their dull life in the safety of Sydney to a gig in Alice Springs in a bus christened Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. Each has their own reason for the journey, which is one of singing, dancing, drinking and bickering. Behind the make-up and the glitz there is a far deeper compelling story of friendship, life, love, and equality from homophobia to harmony as they meet the son of one, heal the grief of another, and fulfil the third's dream to perform a Kylie medley on Ayers Rock, albeit in showgirl outfits. There are no original numbers in the musical but it is jam packed with disco classics such as Boogie Wonderland, Go West and I Will Survive.

The film has transferred beautifully to stage and maintains its storyline, as well as the crude and witty humour which they use to cut down the homophobes they meet along the way.

The show's sheer exuberance and humour spill over into the audience who, from the first disco beat, are clapping along.

An excellent cast is headed by Jason Donovan who pulls in whoops from the audience from the moment he appears on stage.

Donovan gives an alluring performance as the touchingly insecure Mitzi but it's fellow Aussie and ex Neighbours actor Richard Grieve who steals the show as elegant ageing transsexual, the divine Ber nadette.

Vocally great, his warm portrayal hints at the sadness in her past and the strength in her character. Graham Weaver completes the trio with an energetic performance as master of the one-liners and thrill-seeking drama queen Adam, aka the loud and proud Felicia.

Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiners' mind-blowing costume designs are amazing; 500 costumes, 200 hats, 100 wigs and 150 pairs of shoes, with outfits ranging from cupcakes to lizards - and with some startling fast changes.

The colourful and visually striking set design is also probably one of the most creative I have seen in theatre.

The whole show is outrageously camp, deliciously extravagant and wickedly funny. Catch it if you can - it's a real beaut!

Your shout Feeling fabulous after a beautiful storm this morning and #priscilla at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall last night. @TheMocking_Bird

'' An excellent cast is headed by Jason Donovan who pulls in whoops from the moment he appears Tanya Raybould

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