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Feb 2nd, 2009
There was much expectation in the audience before the show, two ladies (I presume) waited eagerly in their front row seats wrapped in bright pink feather boas under a rather large glistening disco ball. Be prepared for the wild and fantastic in this wonderful spectacle of costumes, colour and music!
Superbly acted by a cast headed up by Jason Donovan as Tick, Tony Sheldon reprising his role as Bernadette, and the fabulous Oliver Thornton as Adam, this is a show not to be missed. Join in on the eventful journey of this unlikely trio of drag queens across the Australian outback in a bus called Priscilla. Priscilla Queen of the Desert focuses on both the highs and lows of drag life and somehow manages to be deeply touching in between the crude and camp. The show addresses the dark themes underlying the glitter and glamour in a manner that is both respectful and in keeping with the overall ethos of the production.
Jason Donovan puts in a solid performance (yes fans - you'll get to see him in his underwear) but Tony Sheldon is the star of the show as Bernadette the elderly transsexual whose performance is both hysterical and moving.
The band delivered a great groovy disco sound that definitely got the audiences toes tapping. The score included disco hits from the 1970s, including "Hot Stuff", "Boogie Wonderland" and "I Will Survive". The three exotically costumed Divas delivered most of the score while suspended high above the stage while the leads simultaneously lyp synched below. A highlight was Felicia's epic lyp synch of Verde's Sempre Libra on top of the bus astride a giant high heeled shoe with scarf billowing behind - it was amazing!
The best things about the show are the truly outlandish costumes. My favourites were definitely the thong dress made entirely from flip-flops and the giant lime green cupcakes that swirled to MacArthur Park's 'Who left the cake in the rain'. Even the rather cleverly designed bus, Priscilla gets a drag makeover.
Be sure to pick your seats carefully if you want to see all the action. Due to the bad sightlines you will sadly miss most of the aerial action if you happen to be sitting underneath the balcony in the stalls. From about row L backwards (towards the side aisles) the view is considerably obscured due to the overhang of the circle.
The sheer spectacle of the show left me grinning profusely at even the most lewd and cringe worthy scenes such as Cynthias rendition of 'Pop Musiek' and the authentically Australian road-kill that I won't elaborate on.
This is one of the most outrageous and entertaining shows I have seen in a while - don't miss the bus!
Great night out: for non stop entertainment
Our rating: disco hangover, you have 'i will survive' stuck in your head for days afterwards
Recommend to friends: to those not afraid of a little drag
See again: Definitely, with a group of friends
Best bit: Felicia's epic lyp synch of Verde's Sempre Libra
View our show pages for more information about Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, New Theatre Oxford.
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