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REVIEW | Priscilla Queen of the Desert | UK Tour

Priscilla Queen of the Desert UK Tour starring Duncan James

The Priscilla bus has arrived in Wolverhampton and it’s fun, vibrant and utterly fabulous.

Based on the Oscar-winning film, the musical follows the story of the drag queen Tick and his journey across Australia to visit his ex-wife and meet his child. He enlists the help of his two friends, transgender Bernadette and drag queen Adam/Felicia, they jump on a bright pink bus and embark on their journey, and it is undoubtedly a bumpy ride.

Soundtracked by classic 80s tunes such as I Will Survive and Girls Just Want To Have Fun, the glittering numbers, intertwined into the storyline, are spectacularly performed with the use of dazzling costumes and glittering effects. With over 500 costumes and rapid quick changes, the stage is constantly glowing with colour, creating a visual masterpiece.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert UK Tour starring Duncan James

Duncan James takes on the lead role of Tick/Mitzi, throughout the show he is holding a secret and has the ongoing motivation to meet his son. Whilst he does get heavily involved in all the shenanigans that occur on the road, when he senses things are getting out of hand he is the first to put his foot down. Duncan James flawlessly depicts the role of Mitzi, his drag alter ego. His dance moves are slick and he captures the femininity of the role superbly. Despite this, his interpretation of the sensitive side of Tick is highly convincing, he manages to maintain a strong balance between both sides of his character.

Alongside him, Simon Green plays the role of transgender Bernadette, an older and much wiser character. After training at LAMDA his first-rate acting ability is evident. He provides a powerful performance, his connection to the character is distinctly compelling as he encapsulates the feminine qualities of the role. Unlike the drag queens, Bernadette is a poised character that strays far from extravagant. Green acts the role with delicacy, portraying the intricacy of the female mannerisms impeccably.

Adam Bailey stole the show last night as Adam/Felicia, his energy is electric and shows no signs of wavering. Bailey’s characterisation is remarkable as he becomes the sassy, animated and vivacious drag queen. He masters the dynamic choreography and even manages to sprint around the stage in six-inch heels. Aside from his fierce moves, he also has some impressive lungs. Being an advocate for the new wave of drag queens that actually sing their songs instead of lip syncing, a highlight of the show is when he immaculately belts out Confide In Me on top of Ayers Rock.

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Co-choreographers Ross Coleman and Andrew Hallsworth have created exceptional dance numbers bursting with character. Throughout the show, each number excels the last, leading up to an eccentric and high-powered finale. Despite the outrageously large costumes, the numbers are tight and the detailed choreography is performed pristinely.

Behind all the glitz and glamour is a touching storyline, Tick is desperate to meet his son Benji, but fears what he may think of him. He doesn’t tell his friends the reason for their trip and as their arrival approaches, his apprehension intensifies. It is a truly heartwarming moment in the show when Tick meets his son (played by Toby Gretton) and their duet of Always On My Mind pulls on the heart strings, this emotional moment emphasises the strong storyline that is the foundation of the show.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert is a musical that will leave you grinning from ear to ear, it is an explosion of flamboyancy and the sensational show is a guaranteed joyous night at the theatre.

Catch the show at the Wolverhampton Grand until Saturday the 7th of May, tickets can be found here.

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