Newcastle Theatre Royal, 17/02/2020
Hold onto your wigs and tuck up tight, Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical UK tour has rolled into Newcastle Theatre Royal, fashioning the most fantastic wardrobe, covered with glitter and glamour. We were invited to the press night of Priscilla and had no idea what to expect as we had never seen the show, or the 1994 film it is based on (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert); only that it was a drag jukebox musical and that was enough to perk our interests being big fans of TV hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Priscilla tells the story of two drag queens, Mitzi-Mitosis (Joe McFadden) and Felicia-Jollygoodfellow (Nick Hayes) with Mitzi’s transgender friend Bernadette Bassenger (Miles Western) who take a troubled road trip across the Australian outback in an old bus (Priscilla) to do a series of performances for the benefit of Mitzi (McFadden). The show was full of hits, colour and drag queen humour and is just a really fun night out, especially for fans of drag shows! Read on for our five reasons to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert!
1. The fabulous costumes
This show really is full-on drag! From the opening number to the final bows we are treated to some wonderful costumes of sequins and glitter, topped with the most extravagant wigs. Each scene was highlighted by an adored pop song, allowing the costumes to be more over the top than in the previous number. “Macarthur Park” was one of the many songs that allowed such indulgence in costumes as the cast flood the stage dressed as cakes of all shapes and sizes as Mitzi (McFadden) slays the number.
2. It’s serving ultimate drag-realness
The humour, the looks, the story, the heart. It’s so drag and we are living for it. If you, like us, are a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race and are up for a fun night out, this is calling your drag name. The show begins very much like a drag show, introduced by Kevin Yates as Miss Understanding addressing the crowd with tongue-in-cheek humour and a wicked personality. We would’ve liked to have seen a bit more of Miss Understanding throughout the show – she was fantastic and such a laugh.
3. There’s so many puns
This show is PACKED with one liners. There’s so many innuendos you can hardly keep up! It makes act one very funny before touching on more serious issues that come with drag and LGBTQ+ in the second half. The jokes made by the three queens aboard the bus land incredibly well as their characters are all so different and the rising tension between Felicia (Hayes) and Bernadette (Western) lays the groundwork for the harsh jokes they make at each other’s expense, one stand out pun revolves around “hormones” – we will let you find that out when you see it!
4. All the numbers are so much fun
Whilst the songs may not fit as seamlessly into the storyline as some other jukebox musicals, the style of the show and it’s cult status from the film sort of allow this to happen without it really being a problem. Each song brings on the whole company who provide great choreography and characterisations to the scenes too. Cynthia (Jacqui Sanchez), the wife of the queen’s new friend Bob (Daniel Fletcher) provides so much fun with her number “Pop Muzik”, let’s just say if you’re in the front row, watch out for those ping pong balls! The audience was in stitches.
5. The voices of the Divas
Acting as the glue between each scene, the Divas are delightful. Played by Aisha Pease, Claudia Kariuki and Rosie Glossop, their powerful voices really resonate through the auditorium and lend themselves so well to the songs. Each time they graced the stage it was certain we were going to be wowed by their performances and they did not disappoint once. The Divas bring such an extra level of entertainment to the whole show, which is already layered with comedy, costumes and even some poignancy too.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is playing at Newcastle Theatre Royal until Saturday 22nd February, buy your tickets by clicking here!
The tour still has many stops including Sheffield, Cardiff, Birmingham and Bristol. Tour dates and links for booking tickets by clicking here!