Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical

Both of the fabulous movie and theatre versions of Priscilla are themed around physical and spiritual journeys, and ours begins with the stage production bursting across the stage in vivid colour and exaggerated glamour. The show faithfully echoes its origins, though with an exaggerated caricature of the familiar glitzy film scenes. The recognisable tarted-up school bus, lit from within by an interactive light display, swings across the stage and takes us from the confines of the Sydney CBD to the vast hazy red illumination of the Australian outback.

The talented cast certainly doesn’t just rely on the spectacular wardrobe as their creative outlet of self-expression. The choreography is energetic and athletic. The dancers exhibit both euphoric sensuality and impressive skill as they weave across the stage in their increasingly elaborate costumes. The perky pop soundtrack accompanying them makes it impossible not to tap my feet and indulge in some quavering lip syncing myself.

Though the supporting cast is of notable quality, leads David Harris, Euan Doidge and Tony Sheldon steal the show as they explore their loveable and bizarre personas with skill and panache. Self-doubt gives way to self-discovery as they reveal how LGBT social roles and personal desires can be expressed through a balance of both masculine and feminine strength. Zingy come backs and sexual innuendo help to diffuse the build-up of any tensions caused by the heavy themes with cheeky humour and copious sass.

This is a show not to be missed. If you attend either purely for the nostalgic affection or from an interest in a uniquely Australian take on gender and power in our society, you will leave with a smile on your face and a catchy song on in your head. You may even find that the glittering light of Priscilla reveals a mask behind which you can find the freedom to discover aspects of your own ‘normal’. It will be showing at the Adelaide Festival Centre until 15 September 2018.

Words and Image by Danielle Clarke

WHERE: Adelaide Festival Centre, King William St, Adelaide

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