Priscilla, Queen of the Desert REVIEW: 'When they shone, they were as bright as the sun'

I’m not normally a fan of juke-box musicals but – let’s face it – Priscilla, Queen of the Desert works a treat.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 9:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 9:37 am
The company of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert, which is at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, January 2020.

The Mayflower is hosting this high-octane touring version for a week and if you’re weighed down with the winter blues, get over to Southampton and remember how to soar.

A road-trip with a difference, here we have a trio of drag-queens crossing Australia in a clapped-out old bus, heading to Alice Springs to perform. Along the way – as with all road-trips! – they find self-awareness, love and understanding.

The trio here are played by Joe McFadden, Miles Western and Nick Hayes – and exceptionally fine the three of them are, too.

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If I have one tiny criticism of the three leads it’s that occasionally – very occasionally – there was a glimmer of acting on autopilot. But when they shone, they were as bright as the sun. Miles Western, in particular, as transsexual Bernadette, strikes chords of sympathy and empathy and absolute joy, particularly in the scene where rampant homophobia threatens our heroines and she, literally, kicks back.

But this show is made by the ensemble, particularly the three Divas who open the show – Rosie Glossop, Claudia Kariuki and Aiesha Pease. The ensemble dancing is intricate and slick; the vocal harmonies are outstanding – you’ll hear many an old favourite in a very different and powerful way.

Excellent stuff.

Until Saturday.