Review: Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Pricilla Queen of the Desert.. Picture: comp
Pricilla Queen of the Desert.. Picture: comp
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YOU wonder if Priscilla is a badge of honour for former Neighbours stars. Originally featuring Guy Pearce as Felicia in the film of the same name, Jason Donovan and Richard Grieve have been touring the musical around the UK for the past 13 months now.

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Maybe, when they were young and foolish, they dreamed of playing Hamlet at the Donmar Warehouse or headlining something new by Michael Frayn on the West End, rather than taking an unexpected swerve into pink, sparkly spandex. Yet, they appear to be gloriously happy hamming it up and lip synching to It’s Raining Men in this unrepentantly catty jukebox musical celebrating all that’s fabulous about Australian drag artists.

Nearing the end of it’s tour, Priscilla has lost some of the gloss she had on her first pass through Edinburgh last year. Timings are off, the three Divas have been grounded by air traffic control and the costumes could do with a refresh. Yet, in spite of it’s road-weary aches, the show still had the charisma to shake the audience out of their Monday night apathy and into an uproarious standing ovation.

Grieve’s Bernadette swings confidently from understated observation to Outback diva in the blink of an eye, while Donovan’s Tick, whose demons aren’t quite as thoroughly explored, is on camper, flirtier form. Understudy Liam Marcellino was notably comfortable in his role as Felicia and working with the ensemble as a whole. His take on the character somewhat more reserved and measured than past leads.

While solid Priscilla fans will be more than a little disappointed by the show’s loss of pathos in favour of upbeat musical comedy, anyone dropping in for a night out with their friends will leave with a spring in their step.

• Run ends Saturday.