Hell, I don't seem to have much time on my hands at the mo. I'm about to start marking exam scripts for an exam board which I do once a year to make extra dosh and I kind of wish I wasn't...it's usually very intense and I have to go into hibernation for several weeks in order to get it all done (as if I've never done that before as a teacher...) But this time I'm only marking about 2oo scripts (Only!! I hear you cry) as opposed to double the number which I did before ... Well, I've got to have SOME kind of life. Anyway it will be worth it when it's over and I can spend the cash on my much-needed Summer holiday...
Meanwhile, last weekend it was hubbie's birthday and we had a good 'un. As part of the general celebrations, we went to see a matinee performance of "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" at the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. And it was absolutely brilliant! Much better than I'd hoped and more so than the film itself in fact. Even the most narrow-minded, homophobic, transvestite-hating of "citizens" out there will have heard of "Priscilla" but if you haven't, well, it's about about three drag queens (two gay men, Tick (aka Mitzi) and Adam (aka Felicia) and a transexual woman called Bernadette) driving across the Australian outback from Sydney to Alice Springs, where they're scheduled to perform a show at a Casino. To make things slightly more interesting, the Casino is run by Tick's wife and he also has a young son... And the gender benders' method of transport just happens to be a large bus called Priscilla.
So why did I like it so...Firstly the show expands on the film by featuring many more songs than the movie - some you'd heard before like "I've Never Been To Me" and "Finally" but some new ones which slotted in very well into the narrative - "Hot Stuff" as Adam gets dragged up for a "night on the town"; "Boogie Wonderland" as staff at the Alice Springs casino (with some very hot male dancers in tight shorts I might add) performing perfectly synchronised routines; "Don't Leave Me This Way" sung slow-then-fast when Bernadette's partner dies; "I Say a Little Prayer" sung by Tick (Jason Donovan in rather good sensitive mode! Gasp!) when he's meditating on his faraway son...and my own personal favourite "Macarthur Park" - the Donna Summer classic with the fabulously weird-inane lyrics: "Someone left the cake out in the rain / I don't think that I can take it /Cos it took so long to bake it / And I'll never have that recipe again / Oh nooooooo!!!"
Which leads to the next brilliant thing - the costumes and dance routines - "Macarthur Park" for instance has the dancers dressed up as giant cup cakes and there are loads of other similarly inventive bits too numerous to mention here.
The leading drag queens sport many hilarious and outlandish outfits, kind of modelled on the ones from the movie, but going even more overboard than that, if atall possible.
One of the most striking bits in the entire show which I won't ever forget (again inspired by the movie) is the sight of Felicia, sitting high atop the "Priscilla" bus on a giant high heeled shoe, cloak billowing in the wind, whilst lip synching and gesturing theatrically to the sounds of Italian opera. Visually and orally stunning (the pic above kind of doesn't do it justice - you HAD to be there). The guy playing Felicia must have had real guts also, as the "high heel" actually moves out above the audience (we're talking pretty high up here) and wobbles alarmingly!
But he's not the only one suspended from a height as the show also features three very theatrical divas who provide a kind of greek chorus (and the real song to which the trannies lip synch) coming down from the ceiling on wires at regular intervals and looking amazing and sounding amazing throughout. Occasionally they do come down to earth - see above for proof.
Special mention must also go to the "Priscilla" bus, the interior of which we also get to see ...
And finally, the performances. As I mentioned before, Jason Donovan was actually rather good as Tick, giving a convincing performance (he plays the role performed by Hugo Weaving in the movie). Having once played Frankenfurter I guess he's getting a taste for women's clothing now...And he's still in pretty good shape too, stripping off and showing off his hot bod in the first few moments of the show! Mmm mmm. Tony Sheldon does a pretty good job as Bernadette, though perhaps lacking the sardonic, sour qualities that Terence Stamp exhibited so humorously in the film (though I was glad to see they kept in the line when he/she says to the overweight, narrow-minded, small town dyke: "Why don't you light your tampon and blow your box apart, cos it's the only bang you're ever gonna get, sweetheart!" Yehaaah!!) There's loads of other good lines too which I can't remember now ... And finally Oliver Thornton as Felicia is equally as venemous and bitchy as Guy Pearce's version, though personally I prefer Mr Pearce...
Anyways an excellent show that leaves you with a big smile on your face. I wanna see it again... and I don't go to the theatre often enough.