Priscilla Queen of the Desert (UK Tour): Churchill Theatre, Bromley
25th October 2021
Award winning musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert is back for a UK tour. Based on the Oscar-winning movie, this show tells the story of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for the Outback to put on the show of a lifetime. Worlds collide, as the friends go on a journey of self-discovery, acceptance and the power of love. Full of glamour, glitz and glitter this joyous show is crammed with sparkling outfits, spectacular wigs and superb dance routines. Featuring well known songs such as ‘Hot Stuff’, ‘It’s Raining Men’ and ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun‘ this is a perfect musical to warm up audiences on a dreary winter evening.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is certainly fun and light-hearted, perfect for touring venues. Whilst the costumes are bright and colourful, the finishing touches however are somewhat lacking. The wigs for example lack finesse and some of the costumes themselves are fairly basic. However, the upbeat, lively show is definitely a hit with audiences. From the opening number the audience were clapping along and clearly enjoying themselves.
The cast are all very good with notable performances from Miles Western and Nick Hayes. Miles Western who plays Bernadette, effortlessly owns the stage whenever they are present and Nick Hayes is fantastic as the youthful, self-confident Felicia/Adam. The larger-than-life, often stereotypical, characters are well played and engage the audience throughout. As with many shows recently, there were lots of swings and understudies holding down the fort during this performance and Allie Daniels, in particular, gave a great performance as Diva /Shirley. It is really good to see a diverse and inclusive cast and for Allie Daniels to be the first trans actor playing Diva sets a precedent for other producers and casting directors out there.
Whilst lighting (Ben Cracknell) and set design (Phil R Daniels) is not quite up to the high standards of a West End show, for a touring show it is varied, bright and colourful. It is a shame that some of the transitions are so lengthy but the set pieces themselves, especially the bus, are well thought out and designed. Direction, by Ian Talbot, stays true to the original film and works onstage with the witty one-liners and sexual innuendos clearly hitting the right notes with the audience. Choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves is energetic and contemporary however it is not particularly memorable or inventive.
Overall, Priscilla Queen of the Desert is lively and upbeat. It should bring colour into anyone’s evening and will surely raise a smile too. Whilst it may be fairly predictable, and at times long-winded, it does allow for 2 and a half hours of escapism and fun. So make sure you don’t miss this party bus on her tour of the Outback.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is currently playing at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley until the 30th October before continuing on tour. For information, including tickets and future venues click here.
Photo Credit: Darren Bell