Preview: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

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Yesterday, Londonist was invited to a preview of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert the Musical at the Palace Theatre. Premiering in this legendary theatre in March 2009, once the wooden slats of Spamalot are cleared away, this most colourful, campy and be-feathered musical will finally be landing in London‘s legendary West End after a two-year run in Australia.

Adapted from the 1994 Australian film about three drag queens who travel through the Australian outback on a bus nicknamed Priscilla, the musical features lavish production design and what producer Gary McQuinn referred to as the ‘biggest costume show ever, unhampered by cost or practicality’, crafted by Academy Award winning costume designers. A heartfelt, lyrical mash-up between the social outcast communities of gays and Aboriginals, Priscilla the film was a cult hit, and the musical, co-produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, has its sights set on a long, loud, sequined run in London.

Director Simon Phillips introduced the main cast members of the London production, among them Jason Donovan as Tick, Tony Sheldon as Bernadette, obscenely attractive Oliver Thornton as Adam, and Clive Carter as the mechanic. If the three campy ’70s hit numbers performed by the Australian cast (among them ‘I Will Survive’ and ‘I Say A Little Prayer for You’) were anything to go by, this production will have no problem attracting legions of musical followers with a soft spot for disco.

Booking is now open for shows through next September. Taking a bow at the end of the launch, Australian producer McQuinn sunk to admirable ticket-selling depths by declaring that we are, indeed, the better sporting nation. Now that’s commitment.

Photo of Priscilla courtesy of Licorice Bella‘s flickrstream under Creative Commons licensing.

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