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Priscilla Queen of the Desert @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Published by: Yvonne Delahaye on 19th Nov 2013 | View all blogs by Yvonne Delahaye
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Grab your feather boa and head to The Waterside Theatre this week for the glitziest, campest show on the touring circuit, guaranteed to put some sparkle back into a cold, grey November.  Priscilla is the heartwarming, uplifting story of three drag queens who hire a battered old bus to travel across Oz from Sydney, through the outback and small towns, to change their lives and star in a cabaret in Alice Springs.

Priscilla Queen of The Desert started life as a film in 1994 with Terence Stamp as Bernadette and quickly became a cult hit across the globe, winning an Oscar for Best Costume.  Writer/Director Stephen Elliott and Allan Scott adapted the film to create the stage musical version opening in Sydney in 2006 which quickly became a massive success, adding 1970s pop songs.  The show has won a string of awards including WhatsOnStage.Com and Society of Box Office Managers for Best New Musical, as well Olivier and Broadway World UK Awards for Best Costume.

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Jason Donovan reprises his role as Tick (Mitzi), which he first created in the West End.  Jason has had a varied career, starting out in Neighbours, then becoming a multi-million selling recording artist, playing Frank-n-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, a succession of West End and touring roles, being a finalist in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and last year reaching the final Strictly Come Dancing.  Jason plays Tick, the gay drag queen who misses his son and yearns to see him, unbeknown to his friends, which is why he decides to cross the country and see his son.  It’s a tricky role to play to get the balance between being camp and flamboyant and portraying the inner turmoil he feels about not knowing how his son will accept who he is, but Jason plays it perfectly.  Amongst the exuberance, colour and sparkle, I Say a Little Prayer is heartfelt and sincere and provides some pathos to the comedy.
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Bernadette is played by Richard Grieve, having previously played Tick in the West End.  Richard is best known as Jonny Foster in Emmerdale and in his native Australia, Sam Krantz in Neighbours and Dr Lachlan Fraser in Home and Away.  UK theatre credits include Footloose the Musical and Bells are Ringing.  He gives a stunning performance as Bernadette, with just the right amount of strength and vulnerability for us to really care about if she can find romance with Bob (Giles Watling).

Graham Weaver is wonderfully camp and outrageous as Adam (Felicia), so sure of who he is that he’s unable to comprehend the homophobic small-town behaviour they experience on the journey.
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The show is so joyful and opulent, with sumptuous, colourful costumes that sparkle and dazzle and amaze as they become more and more flamboyant and ostentatious.  I loved The Three Divas flying in to open with It’s Raining Men and appearing throughout the show and the songs are all about having fun including Venus, Boogie Wonderland, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.  For me though the show’s theme tune has to be I Will Survive, as it perfectly expresses the strength and resilience they’ve all needed to survive the prejudices and biogtry they’ve all suffered.  The cast all belt it out creating a vibrant lasting end to the first and second acts. 

If you didn’t catch it in the West End, or even if you did and want to see it again (like me) you really don’t want to miss this show.  It's Entertainment with a capital 'E'!

Performances:   Mon 18 – Sat 23 Nov
Mon – Thu Evenings 7.30pm, Fri 5pm & 8.15pm, Sat 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Tickets:   £10 - £35 (Premium seats also available) 
Box Office:   0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Groups Hotline:  0844 871 7614
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)
Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)
For further tour dates and info visit: www.priscillathemusical.com

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
18.11.13

Comments

2 Comments

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 4 years ago
    Thanks for your review, Yvonne. It sounds like you had as much fun in Aylesbury as I did watching this in Glasgow. I completely agree!
  • GRAHAM CLARK
    by GRAHAM CLARK 4 years ago
    I have seen the show twice and really enjoyed it - great songs, great costumes and some very risque lines!!
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