12-17 October 2015
Reviewed by Claire Giles
Myself and a friend were lucky enough to go and see Priscilla Queen of the Desert the musical at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford last night. The Alhambra is one of my favourite theatres. The theatre is visually stunning both inside and out. The staff are always very welcoming, helpful and friendly. It is easily located and accessible in Bradford City Centre with plenty of payable parking nearby.
The musical is based on the 1994 film of the same name. I remember vaguely watching the film years ago and enjoying it but it was by far surpassed by the musical stage version which was excellent from beginning to end.
The plot revolves round the three main characters. Tick (Mitzi) the camp but not overly flamboyant drag queen, Bernadette the transsexual drag queen who is very glamorous and ladylike and Adam (Felicia) the young smart mouthed flamboyant drag queen. Tick is invited by his wife to travel from Sydney to Alice Springs to perform in the casino she manages. After recruiting Adam and Bernadette the three set off on a road trip across the Australian outback on a bus they purchase and christen Priscilla. Unbeknownst to the other two the trip is especially important to Tick as he is travelling to meet his son. Along the way they get to meet and interact with some locals with different levels of success. The banter between Adam and Bernadette was catty and witty. They delivered some brilliant lines and risqué jokes that had the audience laughing out loud. Along the way they also gain an extra bus mate in Bob the Mechanic who befriends the group and develops a close relationship to Bernadette. All the scenes are accompanied by some amazing performances of dancefloor classics including Hot Stuff, Boogie Wonderland, I Love the Nightlife and Go West. The musical performances were often enhanced by ‘three divas’ who also sung along with the main cast often suspended from the ceiling.
The ensemble was excellent throughout singing and dancing in scenes and performing to cover costume changes and keep the show pace going often performing in outlandish costumes including singing cupcakes and paintbrushes!
The overall cast was amazing. They made their characters believable and personable. Some of the funniest moments were staged by locals they meet on their journey. My favourites include Shirley the bartender whose mullet and braless breasts were hilarious. And Cynthia (Bob’s Asian wife) who was previously in the entertainment industry and does tricks with ping pongs balls to gain male attention much to Bob’s annoyance.
One of the best things about the show was the costumes which were fabulous. Every costume was so intricate and detailed (and often outrageous) that they were amazing to view.
The show was so fast paced and entertaining I was enthralled from beginning to end. I haven’t laughed so much in ages. The cast definitely deserved the standing ovation they received at the end. I would highly recommend the show for a good adult night out
Tickets cost from £24 to £42.50 (booking fees may apply).
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford until 17 October 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01274 432000.
The Alhambra Theatre, Morley Street, Bradford, BD7 1AJ | Box Office 01274 432000