Fabulous, outrageous, hilarious, audacious and even a little bit sentimental. Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert – The Musical returns to the stage, bigger and bolder than a drag queen’s wig. Award winning director, Simon Phillips has achieved the seemingly impossible and reimagined this iconic story in a production that feels fresh and innovative while retaining all the familiar charm.
The cast and creative crew are a veritable dream team. Costume designers Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel, whose unique creations for the original film won them a BAFTA and Academy Award, have recreated those legendary outfits as well as equally amazing new pieces. Stephen “Spud” Murphy’s musical arrangements give nuance and energy to the selection of pop classics that are not just nostalgic and camp but actually form an integral part of the narrative. The choreography by Andrew Hallsworth is quirky, raw and sprinkled with comedy.
With big stilettos to fill, Tony Sheldon, David Harris and Euan Doidge are commensurate in the lead roles of Bernadette, Tick and Felicia respectively. They each manage to reference the characters as they appeared in the film while also making them their own. Robert Grubb is as dinkum as they come, playing the soft-centred yet worldly Bob.
Descending at regular intervals from above as a sort of small Greek chorus are three angelic divas – Cle Morgan, Samm Hagen and Angelique Cassimatis – who add fun, spectacle and incredible vocals to many of the numbers.
Of course the star of the show is Priscilla herself. A marvel of set design, the famous bus has been manifested to resemble a giant Barbie camper, with a normal facade and opening door on one side and cut away interior on the other. To say more is to give too much away, but there are some wonderfully clever effects and mechanisms.
The show is an extravagance of light, colour, and sound. It’s got a party vibe while still telling a meaty story and allowing space for some genuinely tender moments.
What a wild ride!
Until July 19. Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell St, Haymarket. $75.90-$155.90+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.priscillathemusical.com.au
Reviewed by Rita Bratovich.