CAMPER than a row of tents and mad as a box of frogs, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert is the
CAMPER than a row of tents and mad as a box of frogs, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert is the perfect show to brighten up a dreary March evening. From curtain up, the audience is launched headfirst into such a whirlwind of disco classics and zany costumes that it’s impossible not to get swept up in the spirit of the proceedings.
Eighties heart-throb Jason Donovan stars as Tick, a Sydney drag queen who persuades two equally glamorous trannies to travel through the outback aboard a bus to stage a new show — and meet his long-lost son, Benji. But the plot fades into the background — in a good way — as the cast rattle through the high-octane numbers and dazzle their way through umpteen costume changes.
Jason Donovan wearing a dress made out of flip flops teamed with fluorescent pink wedges and backed by a stage full of dancing paintbrushes are not images I’ll forget in a hurry. Australian soap star Richard Grieve is unrecognisable as Bernadette, a sharp-tongued transvestite mourning the loss of her youth, while Graham Weaver plays Adam, the young, snake-hipped gay whose dream is to sing Kylie numbers on top of Ayers Rock. The trio’s developing friendship, and frequent bickering, is heartwarming to watch and their escapades on their way to Alice Springs had me roaring with laughter.
As you’d probably expect, considering the subject matter, much of the humour is tongue-in-cheek. There is a particularly memorable performance involving ping-pong balls by the hilarious Thai bride Cynthia, played by Frances Mayli McCann. But the musical is not without poignancy and the moment where Tick comes face-to-face with Benji (played by eight-year-old Joshua Hogan from Nettlebed in his first professional stage show) is an emotional one.
Ladies, catch it while you can but be warned, you may be shown up in the leg department by some of the “women” (sob).
lPriscilla Queen Of The Desert continues at the New Theatre, Oxford until tomorrow (Saturday). Box office 0844 871 3020 or visit www.atgtickets.com