There is nothing I could write that would convey the unbridled enthusiasm of the Opening Night audience at Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
They hooted and whistled at every dance number and the cast was swamped in applause after every song. The crowd rose, as one, to award the cast, company, staging, sets and costumes a standing ovation. A completely West Australian cast and company – no mean achievement in these Covid-raddled days, lapped up the adulation.
It is hardly harsh to describe the storyline as rather “thin”. It is a perfect excuse to string together a series of hugely popular songs, 14 in Act 1 and 17 in Act 2! These group numbers were performed with verve by the large ensemble fronted by a vivacious, very attractive quartet female quartet of singers, The Divas.
The staging was excellent and featured a “revolve” (a circular movable stage, within the body of the main stage) used to great effect in fast moving chase scenes. Choreographer Una Genuino, also made full use of the revolve device. The central part of he stage was also on a revolve allowing Priscilla, the converted school bus transformed into a tour bus, to swing this way and that during song and dance routines. Impressive stuff!
Clever lighting design projected either side of the stage allowed the audience to feel they were “on the ride”, appropriately often though the desert!
The extraordinary costumes (some hired from the original production of Priscilla) were flamboyant in the extreme. The audience reaction to the “Costumes of the Desert” fashion parade was tumultuous. They adored the costumes worn by artists as well as acknowledging the individuals’ performing talents. The Costume Designer Cherie Hewson was obviously in her element.
Musical Director Adrian Soares deserves credit for bringing together a big cast of differing voices in some very clever musical arrangements. We didn’t view the 8 piece band, they were hidden in the depths of the bus but they held up all the numbers beautifully.
Platinum Entertainment presents
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Venue: Regal Theatre, Subiaco, WA
Dates: 8 - 23 January 2022