Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Wednesday, 31 January 2018
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert–The Musical, Jan 30, 2018 ****1/2
MUSICAL THEATRE Book by
Stephan Elliott & Allan Scott, music by various artists
Presented by Michael Cassel Group & Nullabor
Productions, with MGM On Stage
Regent Theatre, no closing
date but must close by May 2018.
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review also published in Herald Sun News on Wed Jan 31, 2018, and in Arts/Lifestyle (online & print) on Thurs Feb 1, 2018. KH
L-R: David Harris, Tony Sheldon,
Slap on your
false eyelashes, bouffant wigs, sequined gowns and stilettos because Priscilla,
Queen of the Desert is back and it’s chock-a-block with camp innuendo, cheeky
choreography and eye-poppingly garish costumes.
irreverent production is a feast of absurd lip-syncing and classic, disco tunes
including: It’s Raining Men, I Love The Nightlife, I Will Survive and Shake
Your Groove Thing.
effervescent night belongs to its accomplished, vivacious leads (Tony Sheldon,
David Harris, Euan Doidge) who play three drag queens going on tour in a
battered bus to Alice Springs to put on a kaleidoscopic drag show for yobs in
old-fashioned comic timing, double-takes and face-pulling in
a well-measured performance as Bernadette, an ageing transsexual, veteran drag
artiste yearning for middle-class elegance and normality.
balances Tick’s sassy, drag persona, Mitzi, with Tick’s real life
vulnerability, and his rendition of I Say A Little Prayer poignantly captures
Tick’s pining for his unknown son.
the trio as the audacious Felicia, the outrageous, young drag queen who
delivers sultry versions of Hot Stuff and Better The Devil You Know.
outstanding as mischievous Miss Understanding, belting out What’s Love Got To
Do With It?, while Robert Grubb
is sympathetic as Bob, the outback mechanic, and Lena Cruz is a
firecracker as his ‘mail order wife’, performing her hilariously vulgar (and
racist?) Pop Muzik routine.
Below the stage, the tight band (arrangements,
Stephen ‘Spud’ Murphy) performs the disco tunes with gusto, while the three
Divas (Angelique Cassimatis, Samm Hagen, Clé Morgan), with their exceptional
voices, command the space overhead.
A talented ensemble shines
in musical numbers featuring vibrant choreography (Ross Coleman, Andrew Hallsworth),
vividly kitsch costumes and unwieldy headdresses (Tim Chappel, Lizzy Gardiner),
while the evocative production design
(Brian Thomson) and lighting (Nick Schlieper) complete this gaudy production.
grab a vodka martini and strap yourself in for a lavish, crass, high-camp road
trip on a glittering bus called Priscilla.
Director: Simon Phillips
Designer: Brian Thomson
Musical Director: Stephen
Hallsworth and Ross Coleman
Costumes: Tim Chappel and
Lighting: Nick Schlieper
'I Will Survive' - Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Photo by Ben Symons
Euan Doidge as Felicia - Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Photo by Ben Symons
Tony Sheldon as Bernadette - 'Les Girls' - Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Photo by Ben Symons