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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Priscilla the Musical

Yesterday we attended Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Musical.








I have not seen the film so I cannot comment on the differences between it and the musical. The story, of cause, is well known: three fish out of water travel west across the desert from Sydney to Alice Springs to perform a drag show.














Bernadette, a former Les Girls star and transsexual, is played wonderfully by Tony Sheldon. I remember hearing that Dustin Hoffman was disappointed that he became such an ugly woman in Tootsie. Sheldon plays the woman - albeit a transsexual one - very convincingly. Tick is played by Jeremy Stanford and Adam by Daniel Scott. The laconic mechanic who forms a relationship with Bernadette is played by Michael Caton.






Note that none of the human characters is called Prisilla, that is the name of the bus they travel in. The bus can be rotated and can be seen from a wide variety of angles. In some scenes as the trio are traveling the side is raised to display the decorated interior. Naturally the show includes the famous scene of silk billowing from the back of the bus as it travels along.









You will love this show as long as you are not offended by ... Disco Music. There are 25 disco and pop hits including: Downtown, Venus, Go West, I Will Survive, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Hot Stuff, Macarthur Park and We Belong . The songs don't add to the story line but provide many big production numbers. For example, in one scene Bernadette and the Mechanic spend a night outside the bus around a camp fire. Bernadette provides a cake for the occasion. In the morning she is seen sleeping with the cake as a pillow. Tick leaves the bus and notices the scene outside. He or should I say she, removes his dressing gown and is wearing bright green pyjamas. He then sings Macarthur park accompanied by dancers dressed as green cup cakes.

The production might have improved if the songs had been chosen to extend and comment on the action, but they are presented with such brio and flamboyance that to my mind their irrelevance to the plot is unimportant. It might be a play with musical interruptions, but what fantastically exciting interruptions.

If you enjoy musical theatre and are not put off by homosexuality (or Disco Music) then don't miss Priscilla .

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