Review: Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Karen Dunbar. Pic: Rob McDougall
Karen Dunbar. Pic: Rob McDougall
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THE Priscilla bus is in town and will be parked centre stage at the Playhouse for Christmas, as this sparkling theatrical adaptation of Stephan Elliot’s 1994 cult hit movie-musical takes up residency in the city over the festive period.

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Playhouse, Greenside Place

Currently on its second nationwide tour, Priscilla follows the story of three drag artistes as they embark on a road trip from Sydney across Australia onboard the eponymous bus to perform in Alice Springs.

It’s a journey of discovery for all three concerned, lead superbly by Jason Donovan who is in top form as Tick (Mitzi) alongside the acerbic wit of Adam Bailey’s brilliant young carefree drag queen Felicia and Simon Green’s beautifully judged characterisation of the wonderfully ageing transsexual Bernadette.

As the trio rehearse their way through the outback we are treated to a fantastic explosion of colour and sound.

From glitz and glitter balls to a fabulous array of outrageous costumes and killer heels, each scene is crammed full of disco dance floor classics and sing along hits from Go West and Boogie Wonderland to True Colours and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

There is no shortage of laughs either with a steady stream of hot one liners and visual gags to keep everyone on their toes.

The supporting cast ensure that the energy and drive never wanes with The Three Divas (Lisa-Marie Holmes, Laura Mansell and Catherine Mort) in excellent voice throughout.

On board Priscilla for its run in the Capital are two familiar faces, Chewin’ the Fat’s Karen Dunbar, who kicks up a hilarious storm as bouncing bar owner Shirley and the splendid Gavin Mitchell, best known as Boaby the barman in Still Game, who lends a glorious mix of humour and genuine warmth to the role of mechanic and unlikely collaborator Bob.

Simon Phillips’ touring production truly delights, having a heart and soul and entertainment levels cranked up to full on.

Run ends 2 January 2016