Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
The Spring DOS show is packed with camp glamour, a rocking soundtrack, stunning costumes and some of the best performances you’re likely to see anywhere on stage.
The story is of 3 drag artists, Tick (Ben Connor), Bernadette (Julian Cound) and Felicia (George Hurley) who trek across Australia to perform a show for Tick’s wife Marion (Kirsty Furness) at the Alice Springs Casino. Tick, who also has a son to Marion whom he has not seen in years, is desperate to give fatherhood a try. Bernadette, a slightly neurotic former Les Girl has just had her heart broken by the death of her love, Trumpet and sees the trip as an opportunity to escape the sadness. Felicia is a hedonistic party fiend, for whom the trip will give her the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of climbing Ayres rock in full drag.
Ben’s Tick is as close to watching Hugo Weaving as you’re ever likely to see; brilliant campy when needed, soft and vulnerable and with impeccable comedic timing. His MacArthur Park routine will have you gasping for breath. Julian, as the older, more mature Bernie makes for a very glamorous MILF; stone cold in his sarcastic put downs he anchors the two younger fly-by-nights. George takes on the renegade role, the “can’t be stopped and to hell with the consequences” I’m going to poke this with a stick and see what happens.
Of course, the Australian outback isn’t the most of tolerant of differences and so their journey is met with a mixture of acceptance and appreciation coupled with bigoted scepticism and prejudice. The story is as much about asking the audience to consider their own tolerance as it is about celebrating the glam and glitz which, without ever preaching, is rather apt in the current world.
Bringing the 1993 movie to the stage is a wonderful opportunity for cast and crew to big up the bling, the hair, the heels and the eye shadow and this version leaves nothing in the dressing room. Scene changes are seamlessly accompanied by Miss Understanding (Eddie Taylor-Jones at his most flamboyant EmCee-esque best) and the Divas. Led by Jess Harrison with Jenny Poole and Claire Wilmer, they treat us to some of the biggest, campest pop songs including Go West, It’s Raining Men, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Venus. Brilliant costumes (fans of the film will be delighted to see some favourites) and a wonderful Priscilla make it impossible to turn your eyes away for even a moment.
Notable other mentions must also go to David Murray as Bob, the dusty outback gentleman who wins Bernadette’s broken heart and his mail order wife Cynthia, played by the irrepressible Natalie Robinson, following which I will never be able to watch table tennis or listen to M’s ‘Pop Music’ ever again. Tick’s son Benji is played by either Noah Abbas or Alfie Webster – we saw Noah who was amazing, a great actor and no slouch in the singing.
The ensemble, as is customary with every DOS production, can turn their hands, feet and voices to a whole range of numbers; Cowboy hoedown, Kylie inspired 90’s pop, Outback seedy bar and of course 70’s disco are all given the DOS treatment with Director and Choreographer Joanne Hand once again creating phenomenal multi-layered routines which show off the cast’s talents perfectly.
All in, this is a perfect show for fun, laughs, sing-a-long, feel good and boy do we need some of this at the moment – I’d go so far as to say this is the best DOS show I’ve seen in over 10 years of reviewing.
Priscilla runs until Saturday 7th May - tickets available from