Fabulously flamboyant Priscilla Queen of the Desert is back in Manchester this week as part of a new nationwide tour. Based on the 1994 cult movie starring Guy Pearce, Terrance Stamp and Hugo Weaving and winner of four WhatsOnStage.com awards, Priscilla tells the tale of three unlikely friends as they travel across the Australian outback, finding love, friendship and much, much more along the way.
Taking on the main role of Tick is former boyband member Duncan James, having treaded the boards previously in the West End as both Billy Flynn in Chicago and Warner Hunter III in Legally Blonde, James is no stranger to the demands of the theatre. He gives a fine performance, with beautiful vocals and a body to match, the audible gasps and whoops from the audience as he stripped down to a teeny pair of pants would certainly confirm this. James is joined by Simon Green as aging transsexual Bernadette and Adam Bailey, playing the young, foolish but ultimately loveable Felicia. The trio interact wonderfully, it’s clear to see they are having an absolute blast with this show which quickly filters out to their audience.
Complementing the leading three is another fine trio, in the form of the Divas, played by the seriously talented Lisa-Marie Holmes, Laura Mansell and Catherine Mort. The Divas sweep in and out on overhead cables and if singing were an Olympic event there would be a three way tie for the gold, boy these girls can sing! A highlight for me was when Diva Catherine Mort stepped down onto the stage to take on the role of hillbilly Shirley and deliver a hilarious rendition of ‘I Love the Nightlife’, complete with greasy mullet and boobs that swung so low the front three rows were in danger of getting whacked.
The accompanying ensemble cast are excellent, taking on a variety of roles; they give a performance so packed with energy I was exhausted just watching. Classics like Venus, Go West, I Will Survive, Boogie Wonderland and Hot Stuff make sure you’re never far away from the next all singing all dancing extravaganza. Watch out for Julie Yammanee’s hilarious performance of Pop Muzik as frustrated performer Cynthia.
With stunning Olivier and Tony award-winning costumes and a soundtrack that would get the grumpiest of theatre goers on their feet Priscilla is an uplifting, heart-warming feast of fabulousness, where else could you see a troop of dancing paintbrushes on a wet Tuesday night?
Showing at the Opera House until Saturday 29th August