I love this show, it’s the ultimate feel-good musical which sends the audience home happy and uplifted. BATS super production was a slick crowd-pleaser and got a well deserved standing ovation on opening night.
The story is simple yet moving; two Sydney drag artists (Tick and Adam) and a retired Les Girl (transsexual Bernadette)trek across the outback in their battered bus to perform at Alice Springs casino - the ultimate purpose of the trip is for Tick to meet his son.
The terrific ensemble worked their socks off and the well executed dance hall favourites slipped effortlessly (and sometimes humorously) into the action and they just kept on coming. Overseeing the entire action were the three sparkling divas (in every sense of the word!), Anneka Wass, Kirsty Bennett and Jade Hollingshead who excelled both vocally and visually. The three male leads had good chemistry and the banter between them excellent, with classic one-liners from the film popping up in the action. Bryn Hughes (Tick) delivered a great character, the role needing to show both glitzy and sensitive sides. Doug Cairns as Adam pulled the stops out to provide a high camp, high energy performance getting a good deal of the laughs. Bernadette is a tricky role as, although played by a man, it is not drag and needs to be played carefully, but still bring out high comedic elements - no problem for Ian Moseley who absolutely delivered on all fronts. Richard Bond as Bob created a most likeable character and young Edward Walton was delightful as Tick’s son Benji (alternating with Ben Hastings).
Fantastic cameo roles were given by Kathy May-Miller (as the slob Shirley), Luannsa Goodman (the very naughty Cynthia Queen of ping pong balls!), and Ben Shallow (Miss Understanding/Young Bernadette).
The large ‘Priscilla’ bus was impressive and the costumes fantastic and glitzy with some breathtakingly quick changes. Julie Dance and her excellent band kept the show swinging along with tight vocals and director and choreographer Martyn Knight must be delighted with his end result. If I have any criticism at all, whilst the lighting was as always, very creative, faces and bodies were often very dark especially at the front of the stage.
Priscilla is all about promoting and celebrating tolerance and acceptance with one big, lavish kitsch spectacle – and it was all done in fabulous style by BATS.