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Review by Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Review: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical at Birmingham Hippodrome
This production contains strong language, violence, homophobic slurs and partial nudity.
Directed by Ian Talbot, Written by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott
Aussie drag queen, Mitzi also known as Tick (played by Edwin Ray) has been invited to perform in Alice Springs by his estranged wife Marion (Rebecca Lisewski). Alice Springs is several thousand kilometres away from Tick’s home so he gets his friends Bernadette (Miles Western), and Adam aka Felicia (Nick Hayes) to join him for the road trip and they find a battered old bus to take them there.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a brilliantly uplifting musical that features endlessly quotable lines and lots of mainstream music, most of which help push the story forward or capture how a person is feeling.
There are three “Divas” Claudia Kariuki, Aiesha Pease and Rosie Glossop on stage throughout and through most of the show they appear at the higher platform on the stage. Are they vocal guardian angels? They certainly appear at select moments and also act as vocal tracks for the drag queens lip sync moments. Not that this talented lot need other people singing for them. As a chorus the whole company is fantastic, they’ve been holding their voices in for the past 18 months after all.
I found the set backdrop of corrugated metal to be a strange choice to represent the big outdoors of Australia when there was perfectly reasonable backdrop behind that, but Priscilla the bus herself was charmingly realised with modular sections so we could peek into the main seating area and be right in the action.
It’s fair to say the audience love this show and the jukebox music filled with well known tracks has something for everyone who loves pop as the music featured was from nearly every decade over fifty years from 1960s to 2000s.
It was so great to be back in the main theatre at Birmingham Hippodrome after over 500 days of break and feeling confident about covid safety was very helpful too. I can’t wait to return her for the next production on their schedule.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 4th September 2021: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/priscilla
The 2021 tour continues at Palace Theatre – Southend, Curve Leicester, Bristol Hippodrome, Mayflower Theatre – Southampton, Palace Theatre – Manchester, New Victoria Theatre – Woking, Churchill Theatre – Bromley and Theatre Royal – Glasgow. See the tour dates here: priscillauktour.com/tour-dates