Priscilla Queen Of The Desert (UK Tour)
New Theatre, Oxford
Reviewed by Jade Prince
Tuesday 24th August 2021
Theatre is back! I am late saying those words because I haven’t had the chance to get to the theatre since everything started opening back up and it feels marvellous.
What was even more marvellous was having Priscilla Queen of the Desert being the show to come back to! It was such a great show filled with everything camp, bright, colourful, sparkly and accompanied with complete bops (yes, I have just said bops!)
Based on the 1994 movie with the same name, Priscilla Queen of the Desert drops you in the heart of the Australian outback where Priscilla carries Tick, Adam and Bernadette in style to Alice Springs where they are set to perform. The journey is filled with several surprises, new relationships, and small towns where the flamboyant drag lifestyle isn’t welcomed with open arms.
I have to say the script was my favourite part. It was so quick-witted that I found myself still laughing at the joke just delivered and missed the next one being fired! I always appreciate intelligent humour. So often can shows pack in crude joke after crude joke causing the audience to think ‘here we go again’ but this script was very different. There were the crude jokes and many innuendos but there was also a large number of really clever one liners that caught me off guard. Obviously with humour the delivery is paramount and this cast definitely delivers the humour.
The choreography began to get a little repetitive but this was forgiven with the amount of energy the cast put into it. There were a couple of costumes that caught my eye but not always in the good way. I love drag and all of the glitz and glamour associated with the wardrobe so my eyes were very much analysing every piece on stage. There were a few numbers where, to me, the costumes detracted from the choreography and looked bulky not allowing for fluid movements. Within the cast there was a great diversity of body types which in my opinion you don’t get to see as often on stage especially for female cast members so that was incredibly refreshing. With this I feel as if the wardrobe department neglected some of the costumes with focus on the trench coats that made appearances several times during the show. It didn’t appear they were all tailored to the individual bodies leaving some cast members looking a little drowned in the coats.
However, apart from that little nag there literally wasn’t anything else to fault. It was such a fabulous night out and one that I would highly recommend for people who have missed the theatre and are a little apprehensive about going back. The whole auditorium was filled with such energy that it was very easy to forget what this past year and a half has entailed. There is no way you can sit there and not feel happy with the songs that flood the theatre. The story does take some dark turns but I loved the fact that as soon as the opening bars of the next number were heard, a subtle murmur through the auditorium started with the realisation that although the scene was sad, the music irony wasn’t going to let it stay there.
I think at the moment this is something we all need as well as delivering the message that every show is echoing: I will survive. If that isn’t the message we all need at the moment then I have no idea what we need.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert will be at New Theatre Oxford until 28th August 2021 before continuing with its UK Tour.
Information and tickets for New Theatre Oxford can be found here.
Information, venue and tickets for the rest of the tour can be found here.
Stay safe, wear a mask and enjoy the theatre!