I have been waiting some fifteen years, since Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical first opened in Australia in 2006, for a promoter to listen to the old bus and “Go West.” And finally Platinum Productions has heard that call!
And this production does not disappoint. Full of all the old classic lines from the movie along with a few other surprises, the show is full of laughter, emotion and outstanding performances. A tale of friendship and acceptance as some 20 years later, Priscilla mirrors back to audiences how far Australia has come.
Peter Rowsthorn, as Bernadette is absolutely divine as he acts the part with poise and grace. Along with Tick, played by Cougar Morrison and Felicia by Nick Mayer, all three leading players give a heartfelt performance full of emotion and perfect comedic timing. The bond between the three main leads is apparent as they stand on top of the bus to bring the show to it emotional climax with the Pat Benatar classic, We Belong.
Other stand out performances belong to Luke Hewitt as the outback mechanic Bob whose chemistry with Rowsthorn, as they develop a relationship beyond friendship, is sensitively portrayed. Maita del Mar as Bob’s wife Cynthia is lucky enough to score the hilariously outrageous ping pong scene.
You can hear the audience laughter in anticipation of the scene as she first enters the stage. And she does not disappoint. Uncontrollable laughter was heard as she propels the balls across the stage.
Janelle Koenig as the tough woman in the bar, Shirley, delivers another hysterical scene as she drunkenly warbles a slowed tempo version of, I Love the Night Life while gyrating suggestively with a pool cue.
Choreography by Una Genuino for the most part is slick, dynamic and comedic. In some numbers it loses its tightness, but this can be forgiven as it must be hell trying to dance in high heels! Musical director, Daniel Griffin ably leads the orchestra through some old favourites from the movie as well as some additions. These had the audience tapping, laughing and in some cases singing along.
I’m not sure the Casino Floorshow Montage scene was necessary given the catwalk of Australian designs which shortly followed. Hats off to the costume designer Cherie Hewson which had the audience clapping in amusement at the various creations which even included a nod to our Premier. The costuming also includes some of the crowd favourite award winning designs from the movie.
At last the hilarious, flamboyant, outrageous, heartfelt, emotional Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical, has finally ventured West. And who doesn’t need a good laugh in these times. I enjoyed it so much I’ve booked tickets for a return journey. Book yours now!
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical
Crown Theatre Perth, Great Eastern Hwy, Burswood
Performance: Sunday 16 May 2021 – 1.00pm
Season continues to 30 May 2021
Image: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (supplied)
Review: Craig Dalglish