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Review: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at Curve

Strap in ladies! We’re “unplugging our curling wands and going bush” on a rollercoaster ride filled with gags galore, sequins, 80s anthems and more fake eyelashes than you can shake a glue stick at. Muddy reviews opening night of this fabulously funny musical at Curve on until 18 Sept.

Just in case you missed the riotous, witty, sequin-spangled and heart string-tugging Oscar-winning movie (me!) of the 90s, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert  is a story that’s hard not to love.

I didn’t know much about the story other than it was about drag queens singing in the desert. But there’s so much more to it than just that!

Three friends take a battered bus on a road trip, taking their drag queen routine to the Aussie outback but things don’t go smoothly at all. It’s a story about self-discovery, a test of friendship and adversity told with wit, wigs and err sparkly heels.

This time the stage musical is produced by none other than 90s icon Jason Donovan (he performed in the original West End production)! This is his first producing gig, and the musical is showing at Leicester’s Curve until 18 Sept.

From the moment the band started to play, toes were tapping, shoulders were shuffling, with the audience belting out lyrics to It’s Raining MenHot StuffI Will SurviveGirls Just Wanna Have Fun. It was clear that many in the crowd were fans which only added to the buzz and excitement watching the seriously talented cast.

Unfortunately, within minutes, the show had to be stopped as there were problems with the lighting. It took a good twenty minutes to sort out which left some a little annoyed, but, by the time the show started back up again, all was forgotten!

Stand out performances came from Miles Western who’s portrayal of Bernadette was warm and flamboyant (not to mention his incredible voice), as well as The Divas – the singing trio that lifted the melodies and energy in the room whilst donning spectacular wigs (how did they keep them on?!).

But I did love Nick Haye’s portrayal of loud and lewd,Felicia and Edwin Ray (Mitzi) was also impressive with toned legs to envy (seriously – these guys know how to work a pair of stilettos).

It was also brilliant to see so many different shapes and sizes on stage – a body diverse cast is something you don’t often get to see in the theatre, so they deserved a pat on the back for this too.

Creds must also be given to the costume team. Every time the cast strutted on to the stage each outfit was more elaborate and sparkly than the last – feathers, sequins, capes, headpieces – think Strictly but in overdrive.

I was so surprised to see such a mixed bag of theatre-goers; from the hard core super fans to teenagers but also lots of grandparents who I’d never thought would be interested to see men strutting their stuff but fair play to them!

Enough spoilers for now – you’ll have to watch the show for more – but we can say that this show really is feel-good theatre at its finest. You’ll emerge with your cheeks aching from laughing, singing or an ear-to-ear grin. Go see it if you have the chance.

THE MUDDY VERICT

Good for: The hilarity of the characters, the glitz and glamour of the costumes, and the exuberance of the dance routines make this show a winning formula for girls’ night (with post-theatre cocktails, of course).

Not for: The show is packed with racy double entendres so you might want to leave the kids (the show is recommended for 13+) and your conservative grandma at home.

See Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at until Aug. Tickets from £13.

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