Australia is home to many curious creatures; a place where men are macho, except when they put on a frock, heels and make-up to sing along to disco classics. Whilst this musical theatre production is no place to analyse the homophobic/sexist/racist leanings of a country, it does use aspects of the themes to show how the two drag queens and one transgender woman overcome their own and others’ attitudes, and find acceptance whilst travelling across the outback in an unreliable bus named Priscilla.
The Divas were simply too fabulous for words; what a treat to have three such incredible voices singing all those disco favourites live.
The pre-show announcement includes a request that audience members “place large wigs under the seat,” which gives a hint as to the fabulousness to come, revved up by mirror balls and funking good music.
Jason Donovan’s Tick/Mitzi was played with a disappointing lack of the essential poise that makes a drag queen; it needed to be outré. It felt as though he was simply going through the motions, technically well, but fairly wooden and seemingly uncomfortable. He was outshone by both Simon Green who brought poignancy to the role of Bernadette, particularly when she tells the others they must “never forget the cost of their choices,” and by Adam Bailey whose Felicia was consistently delivered with high-energy, boylesque fun. Donovan – who almost won Strictly Come Dancing, and almost won I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here – was perhaps the audience favourite simply because of his celebrity status.
Comedian Karen Dunbar’s cameo role as Shirley was unexpectedly witty. And, yes, Dunbar’s nostrils are still terrifying from the back row of the upper circle. The Divas were simply too fabulous for words; what a treat to have three such incredible voices singing all those disco favourites live.
Multi award-winning costume designer Lizzy Gardiner’s ever more bonkers creations not only pay homage to her work on the original 1994 film but also to LGBT institutions like Pride and the Alternative Miss World for their sheer inventiveness.
With tons more glitter than your average fairy grotto, Priscilla is the feel-good show of the season that will leave you with a wide-mouth frog grin and perhaps a determination to be just a little bit more eccentric in your own life.