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Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Date

20th September 2019

Society

Melyncrythan Amateur Operatic Society

Venue

The Gwyn Hall

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Anthony Argyle

Musical Director

Matt Hampson

Report

Author: Luke Spencer

Priscilla is an iconic film and has quickly become an iconic musical that amateur theatre companies have taken to their heart. I have seen a number of productions of this musical and in all cases the company have had a fabulous time on stage. This production by Melyncrythan AOS was no exception! There was energy abounding and the cast were having a great time and this infectious enthusiasm was absorbed by the very appreciative audience.

The set was great with the central feature of the tour bus being cleverly designed. The costumes were magnificent and the entire company coped so well with some fast and complicated costume changes which are not easy in the Gwyn Hall given the size of the wings!

The ensemble was excellent and well-focused at all times with the company vocal sound being commendable. It is obvious that musical director Matt Hampson has worked on this sound and that coupled with a very tight band gave a wonderful sound world, congratulations Matt.

The show begins with three ‘Divas’ ably played by Lauren Williams, Naomi Davies and Lyndzi Williams who were great and worked vocally very well together. There were some lovely cameo performances by Karen Webb as Shirley, Dale Gravell as Frank, Neil parks as the Pastor, Nadia Witts as Marion and a beautiful and tear-jerking performance of Benji by Kian Riley.

Aled Rees was once again an outstanding Miss Understanding, a role I have had the pleasure of seeing him play before, and Malcolm Lee-Bentley was for me the quintessential Bob, a kindly and sensitive big bear of a man who whisks Bernadette of her feet, albeit gently. Caroline Maclachlan was hilarious as Bob’s exotic dancer wife Cynthia and had the audience in fits of laughter whenever she was on stage… It will take sometime for the image of the ping pong ball scene to leave some I am sure!

This show is all about a journey of self-discovery and the three main character have to guide an audience through that journey. If they are mis-cast, which I have said before in previous reviews, then the show has the potential to fall down. Therefore, I was in complete awe of the three talented

men that took the roles of the three talented ‘ladies’! Owen Davies was a fabulous Tick, with great vocals, beautiful stage presence and he gave real sense of the life changing journey he was making across Australia. Paul Cornish was a beautifully believable Bernadette and gave a heart-warming performance cut through with some excellently timed sarcasm and bitchiness that make the character of Bernadette so endearing. The performance of the night for me was given by Joseph Robinson as Adam, a.k.a. Felicia, as his energy, vocal ability and high-camp were perfect for the role and he very much gave his all in this performance. All three worked very well together as a team and this must be commended.

A huge congratulations to the entire company, their Artistic Director Anthony Argyle and MD Matt Hampson and thank you so much for a great night!