The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

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More camp than a Kylie Minogue show,  “Priscilla Queen of the Desert “ based on the Academy Award-winning 1990’s cult movie “The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert” hit Toronto last week after performing to rave reviews in both Sydney and London.
WARNING: If you are not comfortable  with the whole “drag artist” scene, don’t buy a ticket to this show.
With the utterly fabulous Bette Midler joining the production team of the Toronto cast, just over a week ago, you can be sure that this outrageously over-the-top flamboyant show will go from strength to strength.
Anyone remember Bette Midler doing the Divine Miss M as Delores Delago, the wheelchair mermaid – sick but funny. I’ll leave you to spot the equally messed up moments in this particular show. I’d be interested to know whether they are Bette Midler touches.
Quick overview:
As many of you might already remember from the film, OR if you have never seen the film at all; the show opens with a scene which profiles the washed-up drag artist, Mitzi Del Bra taking a call from his “wife” in Alice Springs. We learn that he has a 6 year old son whom he’s never seen, and whom he is avoiding because  of his unusual predilection for performing drag. His wife entices him to gather a couple of “girls” together (Felicia Jollygoodfellow/Adam and a transsexual women called Bernadette Bassenger who was one of the original “Les Girls – when it was all about the art darling) to come to “Alice” and perform at her casino”
Priscilla the battered old bus is his means of transport, and basically the show is about the journey and the unlikely people/places along the way.
Anyone whose ever enjoyed a “drag queen” act will appreciate this show, the male characters are of course overtly camp, but look dazzling in all their outfits. They are fit, flirty and fabulous.
The chorus cast was made up of both men and women but check out the shoulders and the backs and you can easily sort out the “men” from the girls.
Best bits are the lip-synching,  drag cameos of Tina Turner (right in the opening scene) and Madonna. However, the most “gorgeous arm prickling scene was when Felicia does her operatic number in a giant shoe on the top of Priscilla the bus. Head to toe in shimmering sequins crossing and uncrossing his/her fabulous legs; a shimmering cape flowing high above the huge white wig, this worked sensationally as a scene. The lip synching (through my binocs) was faultless and the whole graceful balletic hand/arm thing was inspired.
I am always fascinated by the production of these shows especially the ones that are adapted from films. The set designers in this show used a variety of ingenious devices to portray for instance the journeying bus; the actual casino show done as a fast foward sequence of scene soundbites with the music speeding up faster and faster as the show progressed. They also performed the casino show scene with their backs to us as if to an invisible audience. To create the illusion of scene changes in the show within the show,  a huge rippling ribbon curtain cleverly masking inbound freshly costumed cast members swished across the stage one way, depositing the new set of  the three actors with the outbound ones hiding in the fringes as it swished back the other way  Clever!
Loved it loved it     

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