East AngliaReview

Priscilla Queen of the Desert– Playhouse, Norwich

Reviewer: Lu Greer

Book: Stephen Elliott and Allan Scott
Director: Dan Smith

A riot of wigs, heels, and glitter arrive in Norwich on the back end of Pride month to take the audience on an adventure through the Australian outback with three friends in a battered old bus. Based on the 1994 film that paved the way for so many, this incarnation of Pricilla proudly arrives to fly the flag once more.

Drag performer Mitzi (Matt Squance) sets out on a cross-Australia journey to play the gig of a lifetime and finally meet his young son, for which he recruits the help of the ever-warring Bernadette (Christopher Nicoll) and Felicia (Alex Green). Nicoll and Green bounce off each other wonderfully throughout the show, trading snippy one liners and looks to kill in between show stopping numbers. Green’s musical moments are a genuine visual spectacle with precise choreography and an impressive high kick or two, while Nicoll brings an unexpected gentleness and heart to his role.

Priscilla is a show named after the tired old bus they travel in, because this is a show about the journey, not the destination. Setting it in the outback means that the performers must discard their sequins and feathers in favour of more travel appropriate clothing; a quick transition which is handled cleverly with the use of masks to mimic the intricate drag makeup. In other areas the wardrobes are less well behaved unfortunately, with a few dress zips stuck, some curtains stuck to wigs, and more than a few microphone fluffs.

The show is, of course, a love letter to classic dance floor pop hits from Diana Ross to the Pointer Sisters, with everything from high tempo bops to heartfelt ballads, the ensemble are a pleasure to watch throughout.

There are a few blips here and there throughout, but it doesn’t really matter. Priscilla is truly a rainbow wonderland of pop classics, glitter and unabashed joy.

Runs Until: 10 July 2022


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The Reviews Hub - South East

The South East team is under the editorship of Nicole Craft. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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