Wednesday, October 18, 2017

REVIEW: Priscilla Queen of the Desert - The Musical

The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Lyric Theatre, Tuesday October 17

This is an absolutely fabulous show! I don’t mean any Priscilla Queen of the Desert show, but this one I saw last night or at least this production in Hong Kong right now. I first saw Priscilla when it celebrated its second year anniversary and returned to Sydney at the Star City Hotel and Casino in 2008; and I like it. Then I saw a dreadful production of it in Manila, and I still like it. I knew that I will continue to like it when I went to see it last night; but I was wrong, I LOVE it!

At the very core of PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE MUSICAL is a feel-good, heart-warming, uplifting story of three friends who boarded a run-down old bus named Priscilla, searching for love and friendship. Apart from fabulous and eye-popping costumes (by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner) that pretty much define “outlandish sophistication”, there was a confetti storm of dance-floor favourites including: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Don’t Leave Me This Way, I Will Survive, I Love The Nightlife, Go West, Hot Stuff and Shake Your Groove Thing.

The very highlight of this particular show in Hong Kong; however, is the predominantly South African cast. Yes, I can go on all day about the dodgy Australian accent or singing voices of the three main leads; but that will all seem totally irrelevant and petty given that there was so much commitment and heart in the performances of the whole cast.

It is easy to be camp, but to be able to inject chic and soul in it is pure magic. David Dennis gave a consistent and engaging performance as the bereaved transgender woman Bernadette. Daniel Buys was a believable as the confused but more down-to-earth Tick. His moments with his son Benji (played by Brodie MacFarlane) were for me the emotional anchor of the show. Phillip Schnetler was every inch the flamboyant and obnoxious younger drag queen that his role Adam calls for.

This is a must see. And if you go and see it and didn't enjoy it, you really ought to check yourself for heartbeats!


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