Priscilla - Queen of the Desert
12th July 2017
Great Hall at The Leys
Type of Production
Author: Julie Petrucci
This show is camp, sassy, outrageous, spectacular, over-the-top, ostentatious, flamboyant, bold, spirited, and although the story line may not be everyone’s taste – bad language, homosexuality, transgender, drag queens - you just had to sit back and enjoy the spectacle that was Cambridge Theatre Company’s Priscilla.
I don’t really need to tell you anything much about the story. Suffice it to say, for those who don’t know it, three drag queens (one of them is transsexual) set off to travel across the desert from Sydney to Alice Springs in a bus and have “adventures” along the way.
There was a cracking trio playing the male leads first, Gareth Mullan is drag queen Mitzi Mitosis known as Tick, on his way to meet his son, Benji (nicely played by young Ruben Turrells Prates), who wishes to meet him; second is bitchy Felicia (Max Digby Carpenter), and Jeff Hammond brings Bernadette, the transsexual, to the stage. This trio were exceptionally good in their roles and coped admirably, and looked stunning when in their many outrageous female costumes. They had tender moments of dialogue which swiftly changed with earthy comedy lines. Guys, I salute you.
On their travels they meet many strange characters including Bob, the mechanic, who takes a liking to the trio and, in particular, Bernadette. Richard Dodd played this difficult role with macho ease. Andrew Ruddick also got in touch with his feminine side as Miss Understanding. Samantha Billing was hilarious as the unshapely (thanks to body padding), unkempt, loud-mouthed female Shirley, and what can I say about Kattreya Scheurer Smith as Bob’s wife, Cynthia? Words fail me. She threw herself into her role singing whilst demonstrating the art of “popping” ping-pong balls from the most unexpected part of her anatomy!
Musically, you know the famous pop songs – Go West, It’s Raining Men, A Fine Romance to name but a few. The nine-piece band under the baton and expertise of Musical Director Lucas Elkin did a splendid job The Ensemble, who all deserve an unashamed mention, Andreas Bedorf, Holly Collas, Sam Fuller, Samantha Gallop, Becky Gilbert, Rachel Hardisty, Aiden Roe, Nadia Saif, Kenneith Yong and Emma Vieceli, were absolutely amazing. The choreography devised by David Malabone was incredibly energetic and all executed to virtual perfection mostly whilst wearing outrageously gigantic costumes and singing. It was all very impressive. The singing throughout too was equally impressive particularly from the principals and Sophie Benefer, Maria Buda and Heather Panton as the Divas, all have excellent voices and blended beautifully.
Everything about this show was BIG - Priscilla, the famous bus; the fantastic array of outrageous and spectacular costumes; the make-up on the drag queens; the superb lighting, the commitment and stamina of the stage crew, and the high-energy calibre of the very fine cast. Director Emily Starr and Assistant Director/Choreographer David Mallabone did a superb job. Producer Louis Ling and CTC are rapidly gaining a well deserved reputation for high-quality shows. The enthusiastic reaction from the audience for this latest offering was totally justified.