Updated: Aug 18, 2021
Entering the theatre for Priscilla Queen of the Desert I had a rain cloud above my head and I really wasn’t in the party mood. However, it didn’t take more than an overture to get the audience dancing and my troubles to melt away.
From the off the energy is high and laughter infectious, teamed with catchy songs and corny jokes, the story revolves around a trio of Tick/Mitzi, Adam/Felicia Jolly Good Fellow and Bernadette as they travel across Australia in a battered bus named Priscilla.
Miles Western as transgender Bernadette provided dry and witty humour as well as the mother figure to the group. This was pleasantly contrasted by Nick Hayes’ outlandish and outrageous Adam/Felicia who brought the endless euphemisms and dazzle of drag.
Edwin Ray as Tick/Mitzi felt a little lacklustre compared to these larger than life characters and despite being the central character and the motivator for a lot of the plot, the poignant moments between his character and his son or friends fell flat and felt forced.
I would have liked to have seen the issues surrounding transphobia and homophobia interwoven into the production a little more than the just brief scene before bouncing back to jazz hands.
However, this doesn’t stop this show from bringing you up onto your feet and putting a smile on your face. The dazzling costumes, over-the-top numbers and silly jokes have enough energy to carry the show through effortlessly.
The enthusiastic ensemble is filled with triple threats of all sizes, shapes and ages. Their joy was unavoidably infectious and paired with the trio of singers, the overall skill level of singing and dancing in the production was massively increased.
Plenty of well-loved cheesy hits are crammed into this production including It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, Hot Stuff and MacArthur Park (which brought with it a much enjoyed ‘cake in the rain’ gag).
Flashy and camp, this production may leave behind important themes and a strong plot but you can’t deny it from being a feel-good fun night out.
If you want to feel like things are back to normal and have an evening of escapism I couldn’t recommend anything more ideal.