Theatre Review; Opening Night at ‘Priscilla Queen of The Desert’ : House Magazine

Theatre Review; Opening Night at ‘Priscilla Queen of The Desert’

In a word – fabulous! Priscilla is an awe-inspiring spectacle packed with disco fever, glamour and a rollercoaster of emotions.

Having not seen the film, I entered the theatre with only a vague idea of what was in store. My mind was open for captivation and captivated it was.

The curtain rose as three divas floated down from the rafters, belting a heart-pounding rendition of “It’s Raining Men”, with sequin-studded sensation ‘Miss Understanding’ (played by Ali Davis) joining them on-stage with a mash-up of Tina Turner. The first act flowed seamlessly from song to song and the integration of pop songs into the main storyline was flawless.

Some particular highlights from the first half included Felica’s (played by Sam Compton) rendition of “Venus” – never has a band of disco-angels looked or sounded so good! Which brings me onto the ensemble, who made every scene a whirlwind of high-energy and harmonious vocals and never was that more true than in the cast’s performance of “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, where we meet the glamorous ‘Bernadette’ for the very first time. I can’t pick a favourite because that would seriously undermine the work of an inclusively amazing cast, but I might go as far as to say that I had a little soft spot for Bernadette (can I say that?), who was played by Bryan Newman. Newman’s character portrayal of a sophisticated, transgender women, was so full of wit and moreish arrogant charm that I wanted to run on stage and become best friends.

The team continues their journey across the Australian desert in the second half, where we meet lovable Bob (John Gerken) and his to quote, “mail-order bride”, Cynthia (Kirstie Rodgers). I can’t forget to mention Rodgers’ incredible performance of “Pop Musik” in a perfect, broken accent – I was in stitches and her dancing was incredible throughout.

We get to see a whole new side of the story in act two, where you get a little glimpse into the reality of transgender life. Love, bullying and family are all themes covered so beautifully by our three main characters – especially by lead character Tick (aka Lea Martin), with his tear-jerking cover of Elvis’ “Always On My Mind”.

It’s hard to believe I haven’t mentioned it sooner, but this show wouldn’t be the amazing spectacle it was without the countless incredible costumes, wigs and make-up, oh and the phenomenal set.

Our show ended with one of the most bedazzling bow sequences I have ever seen, with more sequins, more lights and more flamboyant costumes than ever. The finale stirred the audience into a standing ovation, which was well deserved.

Helen Barrington (Director), Carly Simmerling (Choreographer) and Ian Peter (Musical Director) are clearly a forced to be reckoned with on the am-dram scene. The simple yet effective choreography, paired with excellent delivery of lines and a foot-tapping soundtrack are evidence of their and the cast’s talent.

Thank you Bournemouth and Boscombe Light Opera Company for an incredible evening and break a leg for the remaining shows!

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