Priscilla: Queen of the Desert - The Musical - Musical ☆☆☆☆☆5

Showing from - Monday, September 28, 2015 through till Saturday, October 3, 2015

Hull New Theatre - Kingston-upon-Hull

Jackie Foottit | Monday, September 28, 2015

Priscilla: Queen of the Desert - The Musical reviewed by Jackie Foottit on Monday, September 28, 2015 for Downstage CentreDisenchanted drag queen? Tick. Jason Donovan in 'Priscilla: Queen of the Desert - The Musical' at the Hull New Theatre

Feather boas wafted in the air and sequins glittered this week when Priscilla Queen Of The Desert - the Musical came to Hull New Theatre – and that was just on members of the audience as they gathered in the packed foyer.

This crowd was out to have fun, encouraged by two 7ft “drag queens” from the cast who egged on the frivolity by offering to be photographed with those brave enough to be in the spotlight.

At curtain up, the lights dimmed, but not for long, as a huge glitter ball effect filled the theatre and three divas (Lisa-Marie Holmes, Laura Mansell, Catherine Mort) Along the way the trio meet with hostility, incredulity, kindness, violence and friendshipdescended from the heavens, singing 'Downtown' at the tops of their voices.

A drab figure emerged from the brightly dressed dancers on stage – it was the star of the show, Jason Donovan as Tick (Mitzi). But soon he was stripping off and getting dolled up in purple frilly knickers, bustier, shoes, huge gown and wig – all the while singing along with the divas.

Against the backdrop of a brightly-lit and imaginative stage setting, the songs came thick and fast throughout – favourites such as 'What’s Love Got To Do With It?' (sung, comically, as Tina Turner, by Callum Macdonald as Miss Understanding), 'Venus', 'Always On My Mind', 'I Will Survive', 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun', 'I Love The Nightlife' and 'Go West'. But for me the music took a back seat to the over-the-top costumes, the antics and sheer hilarity of it all.


The Priscilla of the title is the clapped-out camper van two disenchanted Australian drag queens (the aforementioned Jason Donovan as Tick, and Adam Bailey as Adam, aka Felicia) and their transsexual pal, Bernadette (Simon Green) drive from Sydney to Alice Springs to perform in a club owned by Tick’s secret wife, Marion (Naomi Slights). Make that a wife and a six-year-old son, Benji  (Harry Marcus).

Along the way the trio meet with hostility, incredulity, kindness, violence and friendship as well as gaining a deeper understanding of each other’s personalities, fears and hopes.

We would find ourselves laughing out loud, then, bang, something would happen to instantly change the mood - to fear (when Adam aka Felicia was being beaten up); joy (when Bernadette weighed in to protect him); and a collective “ah”, when Benji called Tick “Dad” for the first time, to name just a few incidents.

This show had all the right ingredients to offend. Bad language? Tick. Bad taste? Tick.  But that didn’t deter the delighted theatregoers who rose, en masse, to give Jason and Co a prolonged and well-deserved standing ovation.


Based on the original motion picture written by Stephan Elliott

Choreographers: Ross Coleman and Andrew Hallsworth

Director: Simon Phillips

Musical Director: Stephen ‘Spud’ Murphy 


Production Information

Theatre: Hull New Theatre

Showing Until: Saturday, October 3, 2015

Production Company: David Ian Productions; the Ambassador Theatre Group Limited; Nullarbor Productions Limited

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