A decade doesn’t seem like very long ago, especially when reminiscing of the very first time I saw this magical production make its debut. Priscilla Queen of the Desert transitioned from screen to stage when the concept of a movie-musical was still quite new, but cut to 2018, and it is almost the norm for the creative landscape. This Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott story is so special in so many ways, transcending generations especially when we are in Australia’s most socio-political climate regarding gay marriage and gender equality.
There is so much heart to this show and considering there is one man that has returned from the original production, well that just makes it all the more memorable. Tony Sheldon reprises his role of Bernadette in what is a performance of pure class, wearing his heart on his sleeve. Sheldon is one of those performers who naturally embodies the core of the character and in doing so, fills the theatre with warmth and joy. Balancing out of the tripod of drag queens are David Harris as Tick and Euan Doidge as Felicia. Together, these leading men share a kindred spirit to the empowerment of all individual’s and love for everyone.
Chemistry is such an important factor when casting, but between these three it was electric and natural. The storytelling through song and dance is iconic and what makes audiences fall in love with the show each and every time. If the only reason you to see this wonderful performance is for the soundtrack, well then go! This is one of the strongest curation of musical numbers in musical theatre history, with hits like ‘Shake Your Groove Thing’, ‘It’s Raining Men’, ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’, ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ – uh, the list goes on. Trust me when I say you will be singing and dancing along the entire show.
This show will lift your spirit in so many ways, and leave an imprint on your creative being. 10 years on and the subject matter is in some ways still relevant, but the freedom of expression, colour and individuality are qualities that resonate deep within. The heart and soul of this show are brought to life by the incredible costume design of which colour, eclectic styling and extravagance are in no way limited. The countless costume changes, the skill it takes to balance the head pieces, being able to strut in those heels and the confidence to make it all look it easy; well that’s just showbiz right?! As the adventures of these three characters take us on one decadent road trip across Australia, it really brings home the importance of self-love, acceptance and friendship.
There isn’t one person on the stage who isn’t committed to the humour, crassness or integrity of this classic Australian story, and Director Simon Phillips has brought it together with a cast of outstanding Australian performers.
Take your mum, your sister, your husband – take anyone! This will be a night at the theatre you’ll never forget.
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is showing at the Regent Theatre with tickets selling very fast. It heads to Sydney in May so please don’t miss this opportunity to shake your groove thing all night long!
The reviewer saw the show on opening night.