‘A tremendously extravagant celebration of acceptance’: PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT – Sydney, Australia ★★★

In Australia, International, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Olivia MitchellLeave a Comment

Capitol Theatre, Sydney – until 21 July 2018
Guest reviewer: Amy Mitchell

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, on its 10th-anniversary tour, is an all bejewelling, all bedazzling, all singing (well mostly lip-syncing) all dancing, OTT, smut-fest, sprinkled with heaps of sentimentality.

Based on the 1994 award-winning Aussie comedy-drama movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert created by Stephan Elliott – this iconic Australian musical follows Sydney drag queen Tick (alter-ego, Mitzi Mitosis), Kylie Worshipper come sass machine, Felicia Jollygoodfellow and former glittering Les Girl, Bernadette as they jeté aboard their beaten up tour bus Priscilla. The trio embarks on a voyage of friendship, self-love and acceptance as they ‘Go West’ across the Aussie outback from Sydney to Alice Springs.

Jam-packed with jukebox disco bangers like ‘Son of a Preacher Man’, ‘It’s Raining Men’ and ‘I Will Survive’ – with vocals often led by three belting divas suspended from the rafters, this movie come musical is a camp as Christmas bonanza – yet, amidst all the frocks and fancies this show has heart. Our three main characters navigate through the wild bush and even wilder prejudice while Tick prepares to reunite with his 6-year-old son Benji, all the while battling the fear that he won’t be accepted for who he really is.

The show is scattered with witty one-liners, innuendoes and sass aplenty – as a whole it lacks a bit of substance and moves at a pace that makes it difficult to truly believe or understand the deep connections of the three main characters. The set is clumsy at times and some of the racial gags fall flat on the PC sensibilities of a 2018 audience.

Back to the positives and don’t get me wrong they were bountiful! Euan Dodge slays as the naive yet outlandish Felicia, his debut rendition of Better The Devil You Know was a riotous affair. David Harris is brilliant as Tick, see-sawing between heartstring tugging ballads like True Colours to thumping disco tunes. Tony Sheldon plays Bernadette, a role he sharply delivers with class, poise and a fabulously acid tongue.

The costumes! The costumes need an adjective of their own. An insanely fantastical abundance of glitter splattered, nonsensically superfluous garb that tickled the audience until curtain’s closed.
Priscilla is more EXTRA than a Wrigley’s factory, and at it’s heart a tremendously extravagant celebration of acceptance, draped in a kaleidoscope of colour and fun!

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Olivia Mitchell
Always surrounded by music from a young age, Olivia Mitchell is currently completing a degree in Classical Singing. To honour her passion for musical theatre in particular, in 2015, she started her blog Rewrite This Story, where she reviews shows, interviews performers and writes about all things theatrical. She tweets via @RewriteThisWeb.
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Olivia Mitchell on FacebookOlivia Mitchell on InstagramOlivia Mitchell on PinterestOlivia Mitchell on TwitterOlivia Mitchell on Youtube
Olivia Mitchell
Always surrounded by music from a young age, Olivia Mitchell is currently completing a degree in Classical Singing. To honour her passion for musical theatre in particular, in 2015, she started her blog Rewrite This Story, where she reviews shows, interviews performers and writes about all things theatrical. She tweets via @RewriteThisWeb.