Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical Review

Mayflower Theatre Southampton – until 18 January 2020

Reviewed by Jo Gordon


Based on the 1994 cult classic film, the stage adaption of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert feels as relevant today as it it did two and a half decades ago and this tour is proving to be a big hit with theatre goers nationwide.

Jobbing Drag Queen Tick/Mitzi (Joe McFadden) receives a phone call from his estranged wife to say that their son would like to meet him. She suggests he travels to her Casino in Alice Springs to perform a show and he agrees. He gathers together two old friends to join him convincing them to get the gang together one last time, the elegantly refined Bernadette (Miles Western) and the loud, sassy and proud Adam/Felicia (Nick Hayes). An old banger of a bus is purchased that is christened Priscilla and their adventures across the Australian desert begins.  Their friendship is tested on the way as they discover more about each other including secret wife and discover that the outback can not be as welcoming to them as the city. The trio experience everything from bigotry to finding a soul mate but with plenty of humour and glam along the way they finally reach their destination and Tick can reveal the real reason the the trip. Scared that his son will not accept his lifestyle he doesn’t want him to see the show but he secretly watches it and has a differing opinion to what Tick expects. Could this be the beginning of a new chapter for the trio?

The show is a non stop spectacle of shimmying tasselled, bejewelled, feathered show numbers that include popular well loved tunes to get the audience. The comical timing is perfect and the sharp sassy humour had the whole theatre roaring with laughter….with the ginger biscuit story nearing me to an asthma attack. The passing characters and ensemble are equally if not more energetic in their numbers and support the main characters perfectly and do things with ping pong balls that made me grateful I was sat a few rows back!

The set design works well turning the stage into everything from dodgy bars to Ayres Rock and everything in-between.

The costumes are outstanding and everything I dream about for wearing to the office and nipping into Sainsbury’s, with more sequins than you could shake your short shorts at. Please can someone tell me where I can get my hands on one of the sparkly creations from the Go West number !

A really uplifting production where the whole audience appeared to be much happier on the way out than they did on the way in. A little glittery relief in rather grey times.