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Priscilla Queen of the Desert – Milton Keynes Theatre

Book: Stephan Elliot and Allan Scott Director: Simon Phillips Reviewer: Maggie Constable The Queen is in Milton Keynes next week! Well the Queen of the Desert, Priscilla herself anyway. She is in fact a bus and filled with queens! And direct from the West End with its whole range of hit songs and dazzling costumes the musical has arrived at the theatre not the coachway! This is the stage show based on the wonderful and hugely successful film of the same name which tells the story of how one man, Mitzi (Tick), recruits his ex show stars and friends to…

Review Overview

The Public Reviews Score

Dazzling

Book: Stephan Elliot and Allan Scott

Director: Simon Phillips

Reviewer: Maggie Constable

Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Milton Keynes Theatre  Paul ColtasThe Queen is in Milton Keynes next week! Well the Queen of the Desert, Priscilla herself anyway. She is in fact a bus and filled with queens! And direct from the West End with its whole range of hit songs and dazzling costumes the musical has arrived at the theatre not the coachway!

This is the stage show based on the wonderful and hugely successful film of the same name which tells the story of how one man, Mitzi (Tick), recruits his ex show stars and friends to take a journey across the Outback of Australia to see someone very special to him. The threesome head off in a beaten-up old coach and en route come across some wacky individuals as well as some real adventures. It is a winter warmer for these drizzly, cold evenings and a very funny but poignant tale at times. It is also jam-packed with some classic hit tunes such as ‘It’s Raining Men’ which opens the whole piece and is sung so incredibly by the three divas as they descend majestically and with such pizazz from above. What power in the voices of each of them throughout the show, especially considering that two of them, at least, double up their rôles.

None other than ex-Neighbour, pop-singer and now radio DJ Jason Donovan stars as Tick and he does a pretty solid job as the ambivalent father. He still has a good voice which became stronger as the evening went on and as he got more into his rôle. The rôle of Bernadette is brought to us very sympathetically and convincingly by Richard Grieve. He gives us the real depth of this character, the ex Les Girl. A great voice too. Graham Weaver performs Adam (aka Felicia) the sharp, oft nasty, and annoying third member of this motley group. He does it to a tee and has such energy. Both he and Grieve deliver the classy one-liners with excellent timing and just the right tone and their rapport (or lack of it at times) is believable. Weaver has a good vocal range.

Bob, Bernie’s love interest and garage mechanic, is played by Giles Watling with style. He makes an excellent ‘gentilhomme’ and suitor, beleaguered by his catalogue bride, Cynthia. His relationship with Bernie seems sweet and natural. This latter part is brilliantly performed by Frances Mayli McCann whose ping-pong ball activities are superb, but no spoilers here! Worthy also of mention is Alan Hunter as Miss Understanding, who opens the show at the Cockatoo bar and does an awesome Tina Turner What a voice, what dancing, what legs! Hilarious too.

The costumes are glitzy, colourful and fun and the costume changes swift. The performers must be exhausted at times! The set is just right and Priscilla bus, is fab. Very clever and effective use of the stage and all changes smartly done lead to a pacy show. The choreography suits the whole and there is plenty of dynamism. The band is spot on and the audience cannot fail but dance, clap and sing along to tunes like ‘I Will Survive’ and ‘Go West’. Indeed they were up on their feet at the end. A really fun-filled evening which gives one plenty to talk about all the way home. Not to be missed-make sure you board Priscilla before it leaves MK.

Picture: Paul Coltas |Runs until 27 Jan 14

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The Reviews Hub - Central
The Central team is under the editorship of Selwyn Knight. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.