Saturday, October 14, 2006

Priscilla Opens Down Under

Priscilla Opens Down Under

One week ago today, the stage musical version of one of Australia's campiest films ever opened at Sydney's Star City Lyric Theatre. The creators of the new $4 million production of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert - The Musical reportedly have their sights set on London's West End, Broadway and even Las Vegas.

So how is its initial run faring with some critics?

According to the Manly Daily, it's a winner: "The much-loved and hugely successful film has been adapted into a musical and it is absolutely fabulous....[I]t is funny, moving, often confronting and definitely uplifting.The three leading ladies, Bernadette (played perfectly by Tony Sheldon), Mitzi/Tick (Jeremy Stanford) and Felicia/Adam (Daniel Scott) are wonderful and remain true to the characters in the film....The show is enhanced with some real Australian talent in Michael Caton, who is brilliant as the under-stated Bob....But it was Geneviève Lemon who almost stole the show with her hyped up version of a Broken Hill pub owner named Shirley."

Noting the show's promise, Bryce Hallett of the Sydney Morning Herald writes: "Director Simon Phillips' bold, exuberant and colourful production celebrates the film's spirit of defiance. Though thin on plot, it is big on scene-stealing costumes and the pluck of the drag trio Bernadette, Tick/Mitzi and Adam/Felicia as they travel into Australia's vast interior....Priscilla is as much a showroom extravaganza as it is a musical....Priscilla needs further development but it's good fun and magical in its crowning moments. It has the makings of a hit."

The Australian's Deborah Jones is less enthusiastic, saying: "In Priscilla what's lost -- not completely, but in large measure -- is the complex texture of characters and relationships that give the film its heart and soften and accommodate its crude edges....This picaresque journey is now accompanied by one of the many pop and disco songs that have been cleverly selected so they have some passing relevance to the plot even if they're too lightweight (well, duh) to carry much narrative weight....Of the performers, only the peerless Tony Sheldon's transsexual Bernadette and Michael Caton as her rough-hewn and unexpected admirer consistently break through the cartoony surface."

Even Variety has weighed in on the show, with Michaela Boland rendering a mixed verdict saying Priscilla " much like a preening drag queen: brash, glittering and a towering achievement, but upon close inspection her bones are not as fine as might be expected....But the celebration of camp Australia that was fresh and contemporary in 1994 is somewhat passé in 2006, and the rich national flavor that will enchant local auds could limit the production's export potential."

Blogosphere buzz suggests the show is a winner with the audiences who have taken in this Priscilla. The current production is slated to run through November 26, although I've heard word from sources in Sydney that it may run longer.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Finally! Stage Musical Version of Priscilla - Queen of the Desert to Roll into Sydney (July 5, 2006)

Labels: , , , ,


At 15 April, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am on holiday in sunny fun Sydney at the moment from New Zealand. I saw Priscilla today at the Lyric Theatre and I thought it was fantastic!! I do agree that it could do with some further development (and I might add that the male leads should have a stronger singing ability) but this show overall is a highly energetic and highly entertaining piece of theatre!! The ensemble numbers were great and the spectacle of the show is brilliant!

And to those people who said it would be a flop... Priscilla has been running in Sydney for over 6 months now and there are performances scheduled/on sale until the 1st of July 2007 (that would be 8 months) - - that is not bad at all for a city with only a population of 3.6 million!!!

Go Priscilla!!

At 15 April, 2007, Anonymous BEN said...

My name is BEN by the way... I posted the above comment.


At 17 April, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Ben, Thanks for sharing your positive experience. It's a fun, fun show that has certainly stayed with me in a very positive fashion.

As I noted in comments on my own SOB Review of the show, I'm still happily recommending Priscilla to all my friends and acquaintances traveling Down Under and am delighted it's still running strong.

Next stop West End?

At 09 April, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my gosh i am only 16, and my name is hannah. i dont think i have ever experienced so many raw emotions at one time. I ADORED the entire production it was beyond fantastic. the singers were absolutly amazing especially the divas. even my little 13 yr old sister (who we were a bit reluctant to take) adored it...we gave it a standing ovation BEAUTIFUL WORK im actually going again next week wheni m in melbourne!!!

At 16 April, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...


Thanks so much for posting your comments! Glad you adored the show so much.

Please say hello to all my mates in Melbourne!




Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Technorati blog directory Blog Directory & Search engine
Visitor Map

Powered by FeedBurner