Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical at Theatre Royal Brighton

Priscilla: Miles Western, Joe McFadden and Nick Hayes.
Priscilla: Miles Western, Joe McFadden and Nick Hayes.

Priscilla is more than a show that makes the audience laugh and cry, it is about tolerance and accepting others for what they are without question”(Mark Goucher – producer).

This ‘compilation’ musical is also great fun with an almost unbroken string of 29 hits that the audience immediately recognises and sings or claps along with! Based on the Oscar-winning film the flimsy plot tells of the adventures of three friends who take a battered bus (Priscilla) on a journey across Australia to Alice Springs in order that Tick (Joe McFadden) can be reunited with his wife and son, whom he has not seen for some years, as well as putting on a show at the Casino.

Also on board the bus are Bernadette, played with terrific energy by Miles Western and Felicia/Adam sung and danced by Nick Hayes. Both demonstrate total commitment in everything they do, are extremely amusing and put over their musical numbers with panache.

They are joined by Daniel Fletcher as Bob, the mechanic, a terrific performance that makes his secondary role seem much more important than it is, and Aiesha Pease, Claudia Kariuki and Rosie Glossop as Three Divas who possess a sense of style and vocal accomplishment that suits everything they are asked to do.

Joe McFadden smiles well but the dialect coach, Gemma May Maddock, needs to spend much more time with him attempting to perfect his non-existent Australian accent!

Choreography ( Tom Jackson Greaves) is very inventive, if a tad under rehearsed, and direction, by Ian Talbot, who took over from Paul Kerryson, is fluent and ensures that the pace never flags throughout the whole 150 minutes of the show.

The seven-piece band under the direction of Sean Green, is very competent, even if the sound balance often seems to favour them at the expense of the singers. Some of the numbers are mimed to a backing track, often more successfully.

A functional touring set has been designed by Charles Cusack-Smith and Phil R Daniels, with some superbly spectacular costumes involving many changes for the entire cast of nineteen. The bright, sunny lighting design is by Ben Cracknell, relying much on the use of follow spots, especially noticeable in Act Two when, on the Press Night, one of the operators fainted (impressive quick action here by ATG FOH staff) leaving half the actors in shadow for the next twenty minutes!

All in all, though, a most enjoyable, feel-good evening – perfect entertainment for the Festive Season – if perhaps more suitable for adults than for young children.

4 stars

Review by John Groves

Priscilla Queen of the Desert stars Strictly Come Dancing winner Joe McFadden and it also marks Jason Donovan’s first time as a producer, having performed in the cast of the original West End production and two subsequent UK tours. The producing team is completed by Mark Goucher, Gavin Kalin and Matthew Gale.

Joe McFadden plays Tick/Mitzi, Laurence Olivier Award Winner Miles Western takes on the role as Bernadette and Nick Hayes plays Adam/Felicia. They are joined by Daniel Fletcher (Bob), Miranda Wilford (Marion), Kevin Yates (Miss Understanding), Jacqui Sanchez (Cynthia). The Divas are played by Nikki Bentley, Claudia Kariuki, Rosie Glossop and the cast is completed by Jak Allen-Anderson, Natalie Chua, Emma Crossley, Jordan Cunningham, Martin Harding, Justin-Lee Jones, Nell Martin and Edwin Ray.

The iconic hit musical has more glitter than ever before, featuring a dazzling array of stunning costumes, fabulous feathers and a non stop parade of dance floor classics including It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, I Love, The Nightlife, Finally and many more.

Based on the Oscar winning film, Priscilla is the hilarious adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for Alice Springs to put on the show of a lifetime. Their epic journey is a heart warming story of self discovery, sassiness and acceptance.

This brand new production comes from the team behind the critically acclaimed UK tours of Hairspray; with direction by Paul Kerryson, choreography by Tom Jackson-Greaves with designs by Phil R Daniels and Charles Cusick Smith, musical supervision by Stephen ‘Spud’ Murphy, musical direction from Sean Green, lighting design by Ben Cracknell and sound design by Ben Harrison. Casting by David Grindrod Associates.

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical
Theatre Royal Brighton
From Tuesday 17th December to Saturday 4th January 2020.
Book Tickets for Theatre Royal Brighton

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