Priscilla Queen of the Desert Review

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – Grand Opera House, York

Posted by: The Reviews Hub


Writers: Stephan Elliot and Allan Scott

Director: Simon Phillips

Costume Designer: Tim Chappel, Lizzy Gardiner


Richard Grieve as Bernadette, Jason Donovan as Tick and Graham Weaver as Felicia - Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Photo credit Paul Coltas

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a rip roaring, riotous feast for the eyes and ears. Full of cheesy disco classics, wonderful scenery, and dancing diva’s unfortunately not descending from the heavens and exquisitely beautiful costumes.

Telling the story of two drag queens and a post-op transsexual crossing the Australian outback from Sydney to Alice Springs to perform at the club belonging to Marion (Julie Stark) the wife of Tick/Mitzi (Noel Sullivan) and giving him the chance to meet and bond with his young son. It’s funny and sad in equal measure with a beautiful touching love story between post-op Bernadette (Richard Grieve) and mechanic Bob (Giles Watling) and showing discrimination and acceptance this is a glitzy and glamorous feel good show. Poignant and sensitive, it’s a “cock in frock on a rock” at the top of Ayres Rock singing We Belong is a truly magical moment.

The only thing that disappoints is the Priscilla bus. Closely resembling a milk float, its lack of glamour is in direct opposition to the rest of the show. Having to be moved and positioned by the cast it’s unwieldy and ungainly and anyone who saw Priscilla in the West End will be very disappointed by this shadow of its former glory.

Alan Hunter as Miss Understanding is a stunning highlight of the piece; his Tina Turner is stunning and more Tina than the real thing. The love/hate relationship between the glorious Felicia/Adam (Graham Weaver) and Bernadette is bitchily glorious. This was Noel Sullivan’s first show tonight and there were one or two teething problems that can be forgiven, especially when joining a really well established show like this. By the weekend I’m sure he’ll be batting his lashes teasing his wigs and storming the stage in his stilettos like a pro.

Catch the show in York by Saturday 18th May and you too will be “Colouring Your World”