Theatre Review: Priscilla Queen of the Desert

By Julia Parry | 2nd December 2015

"A cock in a frock up a rock..."

International smash hit musical Priscilla Queen of The Desert is a joyous jaunt through the Australian outback to a soundtrack of dancefloor classics. Jason Donovan reprises the role of ‘Tick’, a part he played when the show originally opened in the West End and in the subsequent tour in 2013.

Based on the movie of the same name, Priscilla is a kaleidoscope of outrageous exuberance and innuendo. A heartening, uplifting escapade where three friends; Tick, Bernadette (Simon Green) and Felicia (Adam Bailey) hop aboard a battered old bus (Priscilla) in search of love and friendship but end up discovering a whole lot more. Their life affirming journey takes them from Downtown Sydney to Alice Springs where they have been booked to perform by Tick’s secret ex-wife Marion (Naomi Slights) in her nightclub.

The final destination of the trio being an early morning climb up to the top of Ayres Rock in full drag the morning after the show, fulfilling Felicia’s ambition of being ‘a cock in a frock on a rock’. Tick is sensitively portrayed by Jason Donovan, when he isn’t being his alter-ego Mitzi. He has a six year old son Benji (Gabriel Jowitt-Gelber) who he misses terribly but is totally confused and torn by his emotions and lifestyle. This major secret in his life doesn’t come to light until Priscilla gets them to their destination.

The stage is ablaze in a dazzling array of preposterous drag – outrageous creations – a gaggle of Pantomime dames – a dancehall hit parade of favourites including ‘It’s Raining Men’, ‘Say a little Prayer’, ‘Go West’, ‘Hot Stuff’, ‘Always on My Mind’ and ‘I Will Survive’ – it’s a wildly vibrant and funny musical journey of outlandish behaviour – a jubilant camp ride into the outback!

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