Friday 17 January 2020

Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Mayflower Theatre

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert opened in cinemas twenty-five years ago, following the story of Tick, Adam and Bernadette in their haphazard tour bus Priscilla. It's renowned as being at the centre of Drag's golden age and has only grown with notoriety as it burst on to stage across the UK. 

The show stands for love, friendship and acceptance just as it did all those years ago and having the chance to watch it on stage while touring in Southampton was a feast for our eyes. Priscilla Queen of the Desert opened at Mayflower Theatre this week with Joe McFadden, Miles Western and Nick Hayes at the helm of Mark Goucher's new production. 

In the words of Mark Goucher

"Priscilla is more than just a show that makes the audience laugh and cry, it is about tolerance and accepting others for what they are without question. When the show was first presented, ten years ago, transgenderism and homosexuality were not so widely accepted. I hope that we are more understanding as a society now but no doubt there is still a long way to go: LGBTQ+ people are still persecuted and their way of living illegal in many countries throughout the world. Our society has to keep fighting, not only for our own rights but for the rights of others who are not as lucky, and who live in fear and risk of physical violence. We must shout the message of Priscilla as loud as we can."

The stage production is based on the original film which I am yet to see, it's on my weekend to-do list as I've found it on Prime Video so if you fancy it yourself, you know where to look! 

As mentioned, the story follows three fabulous friends as they set off on a road trip to the Australian Outback for an incredible opportunity with a hidden secret encountering friends, laughs and a few challenges along the way.

It's glitz, glam and sequins with plenty of well-known hits to have you bopping along in your seat from start to finish. One of my musical highlights was The Three Divas who were absolutely phenomenal. Aiesha Pease, Claudia Karuki and Rosie Glossop hit note after note accompanying our main stars as they sang their way from Sydney to Alice Springs. 

Joe McFadden plays a wonderful Tick - wholesome, loveable and with a personality on stage that made you want to be his cheerleader from start to finish. 

Bernadette was brought to life by Miles Western perfectly, I warmed to her as a character so quickly and was praying for that perfect ending with a certain person *no spoilers here*. 

Nick Hayes' Adam was brilliant, he was fun, exciting and he brought Felicia to life so well that it left me wanting more each time he paraded on stage. He was just utterly fantastic and the ideal person to play that part. 

The fabulous threesome just brought so much to the stage that I couldn't imagine anyone else playing their parts. There was just such an electrifying chemistry between them that left me wanting more after each scene. 

I didn't want it to stop! 

The ensemble and supporting cast were just as fantastic and I couldn't take my eyes off Jak Allen-Anderson. Every move, flip and leg kick was entrancing and I would love to see him in something else in the future.

Kevin Yates was also brilliant as Miss Understanding. 

The entire production was full of life and excitement while touching upon more difficult and of course relevant issues. I found some parts deeply upsetting which just highlighted how much more needs to be done as I'm sure we are all aware such instances are still commonplace today. 

Priscilla is every bit as fun and heartfelt as you'd expect, it may be sequins and colourful wigs but it's also love, acceptance and understanding. 

It translated onto stage quite beautifully and really made you stop and think. 

I hope it touched each and every member of the audience in a way that allows them to share the message of love and acceptance.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is at Mayflower Theatre until Saturday 18 January
Press tickets provided for the purpose of review - see disclaimer.
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