We could not be more excited for the day that live theatre would return and the moment is finally here! For the first time in over two years, we were able to go out to a theatre and enjoy a full-scale musical in a crowd full of people who are all just as excited as you are. While reviewing online production and album recording has been fun and has allowed me to discover many new musicals from all over the world, there is truly no replacement for being sat in an auditorium with the performers pouring their heart and show to put on a show for the energised crowd! We could not have picked a more exciting show to mark our rerun to the theatre than ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert” at the New Theatre Cardiff. If you have been following our blog for a while you will know that I used to always attend shows with my Aunty as she shares my love of musicals and she had been trying to get me to see this show for the longest time as she knew that it would be a show that I would enjoy! Unfortunately, I was not able to see it with my Aunty but I was still able to see the show that is known for being one of the campiest musicals in existence. Both I and my friend that went to see the show made sure that we donned as many sequins as possible (as this was an explicit instruction given to everyone in the confirmation email) but we were left a little disappointed when there were very few people who dressed up for the event. I thought that it would be like the Rocky Horror Picture Show where every audience member in the stalls is in some form of fancy dress but it was not at all! There were a scattering of people who wore sparkly tops but very few who gone as glittery as we were but it was nice as it was an evening of compliments from those we walked past!
After taking a series of photos with the signage and the wonderful balloon displays from Cardiff balloons we headed straight for the bar and noticed there was a special Priscilla inspired cocktail on offer. The drink was £6.50 each and was a sort of sex on the beach drink but instead made with gin that had an almost grapefruit flavour to the drink. I would have thought that a Priscilla inspired cocktail would have at least had some edible glitter and/or would have been the iconic colours based on the outfits from the show! The musical itself is based on the movie of the same name that tells the story of three drag queens who travel across Australia on a comeback tour to deliver the performance of a lifetime! Through the journey, the queens make shocking revelations, experience extreme bigotry and find love which is weaved in between some of the most well-known camp classics in the history of music. What I thought was incredible about this show, in general, is that it paid homage to the art of drag instead of just showcasing drag queens. There was a combination of the queens lipsyncing (which has become a staple for any drag show)and singing live which was great to see! Talking about a homage to drag, this musical opens with an actual drag bar setting which was hosted by Miss Behaviour who was played by Kevin Yates. This performance was very entertaining and was another reference to classic drag hosting duties on bars filled with patter with the audience!
The majority of songs in this musical are camp classics that will bring back some level of nostalgia while you are watching it. I enjoyed the song “paint my world” as it was crammed full of energy, the lighting was amazing and performers were on the stage dressed as giant paintbrushes which I thought was amazing. Later in the show, there was a performance of “I remember yesterday” which again was incredibly fun and this time the performers were all dressed pieces of cake which again was brilliant. I thought that Nick Hayesplay (who played Felicia in this show) was amazing with his rendition of Venus was extremely fun, energetic and risqué. Nick managed to capture the more eccentric and flamboyant elements of this character perfectly but managed to balance this with the more serious moments flawlessly. I thought that this show version of “I will survive” was a great way to end act one as the journey of the songs mood climax’s to fit the structure of the show. My favourite number in this show would have to be “I love pop music” which had Cynthia (played by Gracie Lai) who strutted across the stage and performed the iconic ping pong ball trick hilariously. This was so excellently performed that during the scene preceding this song the actors were visibly struggling to hold in their laughter which was very entertaining to see! I always love a show that contains a mega-mix at the end of the show at it allows the audience to get up and start singing and dancing which I personally always enjoy!
Overall, this was a wonderfully camp musical that also contained some very serious and important issues weaves throughout. The show will have you one-moment singing and dancing along and the next you will be inched from tears. It is absolutely a show for a mature audience due to the number of sexual references, strong language and nostalgic ideas. I would rate this show 3.5 stars out of 5!