Society: Preston Musical Comedy Society
Venue: Charter Theatre, Preston.
Credits: Book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott Based on the Latent Image/Specific Films Motion Picture Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. Produced by NULLARBOR PRODUCTIONS In association with MGM ON STAGE Musical Arrangements and Orchestrations b
Performance Date: 03/05/2017
Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Paul Johnson | 05 May 2017 01:54am
For those who don’t know, Priscilla Queen of the Desert is the name of the bus transporting one drag queen, stage name Mitzi, real name Tick, one cross-dresser, stage name Felicia, real name Adam and Bernadette, a transsexual woman, to a gig in Alice Springs.
They embark on their journey from Sidney in high spirits but with the inevitable bitchiness and fall-outs and, along the way, encountering hostile locals among them Shirley, rather a butch lady (Cheryl Nicholls), an aboriginal guide, a lady who does remarkable things with a ping pong ball (without the use of a bat), Cynthia, (Julie Oldfield) and her mechanic husband, Bob, (Mark Howard) who joins them on their journey when their bus breaks down and they are temporarily stranded in the desert.
Their epic journey across Australia is both physical and metaphorical. It is a journey of discovery of themselves and a re-evaluation of their relationship with each other.
Tick (Mark Thomas) has coerced his companions into joining him for this adventure, but unknown to them, the real reason is to form a connection with his young son, Benji (Freddie Howson), and to see his estranged and secret wife, Marion (Gayle Croker). Adam (Reece Oliver) wants to blatantly disrespect aboriginal sacred land climbs to the top of Uluru/Ayres rock: ‘a cock in a frock on a rock’ and to sing Kylie songs. Bernadette sees the trip as a distraction from the death of her young lover, Trumpet.
The show is awash with witty one-liners, innuendo and tackles issues, albeit a little superficially, perhaps, but with the main premise that we all deserve love and respect. It is somewhat ironic that when Tick does meet up with his son who at the tender age that he is is more accepting of his father’s homosexuality than many of the adults around him. It is a tender moment. Equally, there are moments between Bob, the mechanic, and Bernadette, when she finally realises that she might have found in him a life-long partner. Adam comes to reassess who he is.
Mark Thomas’ Tick learns to balance his life as a showgirl with the duties of father-hood. It is a strong, convincing portrayal with excellent vocals. Reece Oliver’s Adam is wonderfully flamboyant and bitchy also with excellent vocals. Ed Clegg’s worldly-wise Bernadette has a penchant for throw-away lines and performs an almost matriarchal role. Together the three take campness to another level in assured and entertaining performances. And yet through all the humour and wittiness Priscilla has a beating heart of gold.
Delphine Walton, Emily Snape and Laura Ogden are superb as the trio of Divas as they belt out one number after another.
The enterprising Preston Musical Comedy Society has assembled an impressive team in Neil Townsend (director), Zak Phillips-Yates (choreographer), Ed Rugman (musical director) and Claire Shipway (assistant musical director) to offer one of the first productions of this gloriously uplifting and unashamedly over-the-top musical in the north west. It is loud, proud and extravagant from the fantastic array of costumes (feathers, sparkles and spangles galore) to the plethora of disco numbers and anthems from It’s Raining Men through I Will Survive to Color My World, Macarthur Park, Hot Stuff and many, many more instantly recognisable, feet-tapping and dancing-in-the-aisles numbers, twenty five plus in total.
Unrelenting, unstoppable. Glorious. No wonder it had the first night audience on their feet at the end of the show.
Priscilla is infectious – and “all in the best possible taste,” as Kenny Everett would have said!
- : admin
- : 03/05/2017