“Priscilla Queen Of The Desert” by Christchurch Theatre Club.
Loughborough Town Hall
This musical, for anyone who has not seen it before, is a double edged sword because while there’s dollops of fun and fabulousness in the characters and songs, not to mention the costumes, there’s also a touch of sadness threaded through the story with bigotry and homophobia and there’s some poignant renditions of the ballads.
Mitzi Mitosis, whose real name is Anthony “Tick” Belrose, is performing in a club when his estranged wife, Marion, calls for a favour, which involves performing for her business in Alice Springs. At first Tick is reluctant to do. After Marion explains that part of the reason she’s asking is because their now eight-year-old son, Benji, wants to meet his father, he changes his mind and gets an act together to do what Marion asks.
Along with fellow performers, Bernadette and Adam, he sets off in Priscilla, the ”boogie bus”, to perform for Marion, but all does not go to plan and they encounter some interesting characters on their journey. Adam and Bernadette don’t get on, so there are plenty of fireworks in store.
If you can think of the best hen night party soundtrack, then you’re getting close to the soundtrack for this road trip musical. I can guarantee that if your toes are not tapping and you don’t feel like chucking your hand bag down and dancing round it, then you re truly not of the living. You’ll know every single song, “It’s Raining Men”, “Finally”, “I Will Survive”, ”Don’t Leave Me This Way”, “Venus”, “Colour My World”, “Hot Stuff” , “Boogie Wonderland”, “Go West”, “Shake Your Groove Thing” as well as a lovely version of “Always On My Mind/I Say A Little Prayer” and Cyndi lauper’s “True Colours”. Watch out for the eye popping version of “Pop Muzik” as well!
Ashley Bright (Tick) showed a wonderfully camp side of his acting, but while there could have been a possibility of taking the camp over the top, this didn’t happen and this made Tick believable. As always, his vocals are spot on and a nice shift from camp comedy to serious and emotive acting. Ashley also got one of the best parts of the musical with lead up to the song “MacArthur Park”, which is a classic piece of musical theatre comedy.
Craig Butterworth (Adam) provides the naughty, fun element of the trio. He also gives a brilliant operatic/balletic performance which shows off his dancing skills. Often like a naughty little boy who won’t listen to reason and stirring it up with Bernadette.
Nick Sutcliffe (Bernadette). What can I say? This is the first time that I have seen Nick in an acting role and I had to look twice as he makes such a convincing woman. Great comedy but has the calming mother hen style with the other two, His facial expressions are a joy and his one liners are cutting but funny. The biggest surprise for me in this show, like finding a hidden gem.
I must also say that all of the accents were really good as well; not over the top but quite natural. I don’t know if there was a vocal coach but if not the cast did a great job with the accent.
A brilliant supporting cast which included Lucy Banks,Lucy Maden, Anja Palmer and Hannah Parker as the “Divas” Duncan Gadsby (Bob), Jack Hardy (Miss Understood/Young Bernadette), Anita Benson (Shirley), Louise Smith (Marion), Hannah Osgood (Cynthia) and making his debut for CTC as Benji, Finn Sibson, who looked very at home on stage.
Directed and choreographed by Michael Gamble, he made sure that this show was high energy and great fun to watch.
Vicki Hing was the Musical Director, and what a job she and the band had. there are several music styles to play and there’s not many scenes that don’t have music in them, so it’s practically all the way through for this crisp band.
The costumes were amazing, every one even more over the top than the previous, often with several very quick changes for the three mains.The wigs were also incredible, again each one higher and more outrageous than the last.
My hands were red raw by the time that I’d finished applauding this brilliant camp and funny musical with the wonderful cast. I had a ball tonight and was on my feet at the end, jigging about
What is there not to love about this show? I’ve seen professional touring productions of this show, but I had the most fun with this production and cast.
“Priscilla” is on until Saturday 27 January 2018 but is SOLD OUT so you will be very lucky to even get a sniff of a ticket for this faaabulous pink musical.
It’s like on those old 70’s quiz shows, tempting you with what you could have had but then taking it away. Here’s what you could have seen… had you been quick enough to get tickets, you silly gallahs!!