Reviewed by Catherine Joyce
Last night we were treated to an amazing, colourful and flamboyant performance of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Preston Guild Hall. Preston Musical Comedy Society are one of the first groups in the UK to stage the show following the recent release of the rights of the show to amateur performers and they have really done the show proud. Whilst we have never seen the show before we have seen many professional musicals and this show really was up there with the best.
Based on the 1994 popular movie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert follows the journey of two drag queens, Tick and Adam and a transgender woman called Bernadette as they travel across Australia from Sydney to Alice Springs. Tick’s estranged wife has asked him to perform a show at the casino she manages and the trio set off in a bus that they have christened Priscilla. Tick is apprehensive about the trip as he is meeting his 8 year old son Benji for the first time, a fact he doesn’t mention to his friends. On the trip they find that people outside the city are not quite as accepting of their lifestyle, making for an interesting journey and helping the three bond together.
The musical is full of popular songs from the 1970’s and 80’s and the cast belt out the numbers in a variety of colourful costumes which really adds to the party feel of the night. Classics like It’s Raining Men, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and I Will Survive are just some of the musical highlights of the show. The cast is accompanied by a live band, headed by musical director Ed Rugman.
With three crossdressing showgirls on stage the makeup and costumes were obviously going to be flamboyant but it wasn’t just the showgirls, the whole cast had a huge variety of wacky costumes from country girls to kangaroos and amazing outfits full of feathers and sequins teamed with enormous heels and even bigger wigs! With lots of visual comedy and witty one liners this show had the audience laughing throughout the performance.
All the cast were outstanding, Ed Clegg was simply fantastic in the role of Bernadette Basinger, portraying not only her tough exterior but her softer side when she started to fall for rough outback mechanic Bob, played by Mark Howard.
Ed was joined on the journey by Mark Thomas as Tick and Reece Oliver as Adam and they both were faultless in their roles. Supporting the main actors was a large cast which must have been quite a challenge for the choreographer and director! We did comment on how everybody in the musical seemed to be really enjoying themselves and having as much fun as we were.
The set worked well, Priscilla, the bus, dominated the stage for a lot of the performance and the numerous scene changes were carried out seamlessly with the story easily flowing from one location to another.
This is a fantastic show that really must be seen to be believed and is showing at Preston Guild Hall until Saturday 6th May.
Tickes cost from £17.50 (booking fees may apply).
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is at the Preston Guild Hall from 3-6 May 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.prestonguildhall.co.uk or call the box office on
The Guild Hall & Charter Theatre, Lancaster Road, Preston, PR1 1HT | 01772 804444