★★★★ | Priscilla Queen of the Desert at New Wimbledon Theatre – “A brilliant night out!”

Where: New Wimbledon Theatre

Review date: Tuesday 8th October 2019

About the Show:

Based on the Oscar-winning film, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert the Musical is an adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for Alice Springs to put on the show of a lifetime.

Encore Rating Factor:

Standing Ovation: ★★★★☆
Ensemble: ★★★★☆
Story: ★★★★☆

Our thoughts:

Priscilla Queen of the Desert is an iconic piece of Australian cinema, that was turned into a fully staged musical. The musical features an incredible score of Disco classics and a book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott.

In the story, we meet Tick (Joe Mcfadden) a Drag Queen who is married to a woman and has fathered a son. In a journey to meet his son who now lives in Alice Springs, he brings along two old friends, Bernadette (Miles Western) and Felicia/Adam (Nick Hayes) promising them a performance engagement at the Alice Springs Casino. Crossing the Desert in an old school bus (Priscilla) we learn their individual stories, the troubles they face and how this journey will bring them all together.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert is one of those shows where you know you will go along and have a fabulous time. You have heard all the disco classics and will want to get up and dance multiple times. This story will warm your heart! You will laugh and have a really good night out. All of these facts ring true on the new UK tour. There is some real stand out performances among the cast, specifically Miles Western in the role of Bernadette. Western’s sharp brilliantly deliveries each and every joke, as well as providing a wonderful softness in moments of reflection.

Nick Hayes as Adam/Felicia is fabulous, showcasing a real arrogance of a young Queen trying to take on the world. Hayes has a wondrous presence on the stage, providing legs for days, great vocals and an overall star presence.

I also must mention the outstanding vocals provided by the Divas; Aiesha Pease, Rossie Glossop and Claudia Kariuki. These brilliant women provide all the belting riffs you could wish for, bringing a buzz of energy to the stage.

Whilst this production is a wonderful tour, I can’t help but feel that in places it is lacking. Specifically, in areas such as costume and set. In this production, we lose all the iconic costumes we know and love (The Flip Flop dress, Gumby shoes etc) and whilst the costumes are still fun, they all seem a little samey and at times lacking a clear concept.

A similar issue also lies within the set design. It all feels very heavy and clunky, with banging noises scattered through the show as cast member push and pull the set around. Ultimately this production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert doesn’t feel as sophisticated in comparison to other touring shows.

Issues aside, there is no doubt that Priscilla will provide you with a brilliant night out, and you are bound to want to get up and dance to your favourite Disco tunes. With really great performances by the company, there is no doubt you will want to jump on board when it heads to a town near you.

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