Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Birmingham)
So how entertaining can a show about a bus, a journey across a desert and 3 drag queens be? In my opinion and that of the audience tonight, very!
From the moment three suspended divas (pitch perfect Emma Kingston, Ellie Leah and Laura Mansell) are lowered in singing It’s Raining Men you know what kind of night you are in for. Tick (Jason Donovan) is a drag queen with a confusing past; he has a wife and child. His wife wants him to meet his son, so he plans a trip across Australia to see him and put a drag show on at his wife’s casino. He can’t do it alone so brings transsexual Bernadette (Richard Grieve) and fellow drag queen Adam/Felicia (Graham Weaver) along too. The journey is eventful and not without low points, but a string of songs including some from the Pet Shop Boys, Gloria Gaynor and Kylie brighten the way and stop the mood from sinking too low.
The stage is full of energy with some effective choreography executed by the whole cast and jaw dropping costumes. It seemed that Jason Donovan’s performance, although strong and convincing, was over shadowed by his co-stars Grieve and Weaver who went that little bit further and had more vocal clarity.
As it is a touring production the original star of the show, Priscilla the bus, appears in a stripped down version. Not necessarily a bad thing as it lets the actors take centre stage and also allows for some clever use of screens on the bus frame.
What this show lacks in plot and deep thought provoking story lines, it more than makes up for in colour, spectacle and outright fun. Grab a boa and some sequins and have yourself a great night out.
- Annette Nuttall