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Review: Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical, Theatre Royal

Jason Donovan and co. deliver a fun night out at the Theatre Royal with the stage version of Australian comedy-drama film Priscilla Queen of the Desert

****
Paul Colta Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical
Richard Grieve as Bernadette Graham Weaver as Felicia and Jason Donovan as Tick - Priscilla Queen of the Desert

If it’s a fun night out you’re after, then get yourself to the Theatre Royal, where you’ll be greeted by an array of outrageous costumes, upbeat songs you can sing along to and Jason Donovan in drag.

Based on the 1994 film, the musical tells of three drag queens who travel across the Australian outback in a pimped-out camper van called Priscilla.

Tick (Donovan), Felicia and Bernadette come across some unusual characters on the 1,700-mile journey from Sydney to Alice Springs, where Tick finally meets six-year-old son Benji for the first time.

With songs such as It’s Raining Men, Girls Just Want To Have Fun and What’s Love Got To Do With It, the show gets the audience clapping and singing.

The music is coupled with a hilarious script and, even if a little crude in parts, it should put a smile on your face.

Richard Grieve, who plays Bernadette, had the crowd in hysterics with his witty dialogue and saucy jokes, and was very convincing as a woman.

Despite most of the show bursting with colour, sequins, and feathers, there are also a number of poignant and powerful moments.

A fight scene between Felicia (Graham Weaver) and a bunch of rowdy locals explores the issue of homophobia, while a scene when Tick reads Benji a bedtime story was incredibly moving. Most of the scenes are fast-paced, and a favourite of mine involved mechanic Bob’s mail-ordered bride.

Another great moment was watching men dressed as giant paintbrushes dancing around the stage as the cast painted the camper van pink.

Priscilla is as camp as Christmas and might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the performance I attended was a huge hit with the audience, who showed their appreciation with a standing ovation.

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