In a time when political views have become more divided than ever, it seems that drag queens are leading the way as culture’s moral compass.
For Basingstoke Amateur Theatrical Society (BATS) to choose Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as its next production couldn’t be more timely.
The story follows Tick (Bryn Hughes), Bernadette (Ian Moseley) and Adam (Doug Cairns) as they travel from Sydney to Alice Springs in the Australian outback, in their trusty bus Priscilla.
BATS have transformed the Haymarket into a place of fabulous colour, exuberant dance, extravagant costumes and hit after hit when it comes to musical choice.
irected by Martyn Knight, the musical is very much of the time, when the original Priscilla Queen of the Desert was released in 1994, but this adds to the over-the-top nature of some of the costume designs, which along with the chorography, are real star performers in the show.
Something that BATS don’t shy away from, which in this reviewer’s opinion is important, is the treatment of queer, trans and people of the LGBTQ community in the 90s.
Whether it be Adam getting into a bar fight for dressing as a woman, to having the words “f**k off f****ts” spray-painted on the side of Priscilla, it is a jarring reminder of how far we have come as a society, but also how much more we can do.
With wonderful renditions of hits such as It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, Hot Stuff, Boogie Wonderland, Go West, and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun peppered out the performance, all three leads had their chance to shine, with Hughes showing a great pair of lungs, Moseley demonstrating lip syncing skills which would make RuPaul proud and Cairns going through so many outfit changes, I lost count.
One thing is for certain the language and subject matter is not for everyone, but the comedy timing – from Cairns in particular – makes up for some of the smut sprinkled throughout the show.
BATS have stuck true to the story that was made famous in the West End and do a great version of it.