Twenty-five years on from the cult film classic being released, the touring production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is making its way across the vast outback of the UK. So grab your lipstick, false eyelashes, high heels and handbag fella’s because this is going to be a crazy ride… well Priscilla is an ageing bus driven by Drag Queens, what other sort of ride would you expect?!
The show, based loosely on the film, follows Tick/Mitzi played by Strictly Come Dancing winner Joe McFadden, and his two travelling companions as they set out to put on ‘the show of a lifetime’ in Alice Springs – home to Tick’s ex-wife and son. McFadden delivers the humour, compassion and performance in equal measures, never being over the top in any, akin to his character.
Whereas, Nick Hayes, Felicia/Adam, couldn’t be much more extravagant in his performance – from the moment he arrives on stage flashing his Hollyoak’s honed body, he’s like that over playful puppy, never sure when to stop. However, that’s not to do him a disservice as he delivers the part as needed; excellently done.
Finally, the matriarchal Bernadette is played brilliantly by Miles Western. He brings an emotional balance to proceedings; sadness, loss and remorse for the good old days, yet as the story progresses discovers that life may not be over yet!
On their journey, they come across typical outback towns, where the old ways are still the only ways. Homophobia and acceptance being at opposite ends of their vocabulary, if in it at all. They also come across Bob, an ageing gentleman of a mechanic who has a penchant for the old drag acts, and his ping pong popping wife! After repairing the bus Bob, driven by his immediate connection with Bernadette, is convinced to join the merry throng and they finally set out to meet up with Tick’s wife and son. Bob, played by Daniel Fletcher, brings the love interest to the show, and his portrayal of the gentle mechanic endears him to the audience, and Bernadette.
This show is packed with classic hits of the 70s and 80s such as ‘I Will Survive’, ‘It’s Raining Men’ and ‘Go West’, that bring a bit of nostalgia to the audience, along with some foot tapping and hand clapping. A starburst of colour is evident throughout this show, bringing bright lights and garish costumes to an already camp and over the top show; which is why this show is so loved by its audience, many of whom could be cast as extras should there be a sudden need for an injection of ‘Glorious’.
Whats great about this show is it isn’t pretentious nor does it take itself too seriously, it’s just full of exuberance for life; the bitchiness, the colourful costumes, the bitchiness, the throw away one liners, acceptance, self-discovery and did I mention the bitchiness? But all with a touch of endearment.
So all aboard and buckle up for the innuendo’s just keep coming!
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is at the Liverpool Empire until Saturday 16th November before continuing its UK Tour.
To book tickets click here
Liverpool Empire Theatre – 11-16 November
Inverness Eden Court – 18-23 November
Manchester Palace Theatre – 25-30 November
Brighton Theatre Royal – 17 December-4 January 2020
Southampton Mayflower – 13-18 January
Plymouth Theatre Royal – 20-25 January
Nottingham Theatre Royal – 27 January- 1 February
Dublin Bord Gais Energy – 3-8 February
Cambridge Corn Exchange – 10-15 February
Newcastle Theatre Royal – 17-22 February
Southend Cliffs Pavilion – 24-29 February
Sheffield Lyceum – 2-7 March
Carlisle Sands Centre – 9-14 March
Woking New Victoria Theatre- 16-21 March
Ipswich Regent Theatre – 23-28 March
Hull New Theatre- 30 March-4 April
Oxford New Theatre – 6-11 April
Birmingham Hippodrome – 13-18 April
Northampton Royal & Derngate – 20-25 April
Glasgow King’s Theatre – 28 April-2 May
Cardiff Millennium Centre – 5-9 May
Bristol Hippodrome – 12-16 May