PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT – Edinburgh

In Musicals, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland, Touring by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

★★★★    Glorious

Edinburgh Playhouse: Tue 15 Dec 2015-Sat 2 Jan 2016

It’s a boogie wonderland at the Playhouse as Priscilla Queen of the Desert returns for a three week run – and proves to be in better shape than ever, with a few judicious tweaks and a brace of top guest performers for Edinburgh.

The story is all the same – Jason Donovan once again plays jaded Sidney drag queen Tick, who is asked by his ex wife to take his act out to the casino she runs in Alice Springs.

There are just as many costumes and costume changes – and they are as utterly outrageous as ever. Indeed, there must be more transformations in one performance of Priscilla than there are in a complete Christmas season of Cinderella.

The differences are small but each carries its own weight. And added together, they make for a show which is a lot more human than it has been sometimes, and which also has a lot more pizzazz.

The key structural change – for those who haven’t seen the show for a while – is in the three Divas who provide the big, powerful backing vocals for the drag queen’s to lip-sync to.

In the show’s early incarnations the three were flown in from on high, hanging above the stage like a glittering angelic Wall of Sound. Now Lisa-Marie Holmes, Laura Mansell and Catherine Mort are grounded, although still as glittering and poured into their curvaceous outfits.

Sometimes they hang back, as the drag acts take centre stage; at other times they stand side-by side with the drag act or come bustling right