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REVIEW: Priscilla Queen Of The Desert at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert

Newcastle Tyne Theatre and Opera House

Until Sunday 30th July 2022

Priscilla, the bus, is back on stage at the Tyne Theatre. This is a jukebox musical which has many great one liners in the script and is filled with many classic feel good songs largely from the disco era.

I have seen both professional and amateur versions of the show in the past. It is one show that, when done well, is better than the film.

Tick (David Ducasse) is a drag artist having a tough time in Sydney, Australia. In a phone call his wife Marion (Byrony De Souza) it is proposed that he should see his son and put on a show at the local casino in Alice Springs. Thus it turns into a road trip using a primary school bus called Priscilla. Accompanying Tick along for the ride and eventual show are old timer Bernadette (Keith Wigham) and relative carefree youngster Felicia (Matt Charlton). This sets up three generations of performers sharing a small space for a number of days. There were bound to be clashes along the way between the members of the group.

So the highlights of the show include Charles Doherty as Bob, a laid back mechanic. Charles only gets a brief chance to show how well he can sing which is a shame.
There are three lads on rotation playing Benji and the lad on the matinee show did not put a foot wrong.
The three Divas (Nicola Hewett, Backy Lakin and Jessica Treacy) had a number of chances to show off their vocal talents during the show.
Finally, there was good chemistry and acting between the three principles on stage.

The Tyne Theatre is an amazing venue with wonderful acoustics so I was surprised how loud the show was. The high frequencies at times were painful. This is a shame as I love to see a talented band working in harmony with the on stage singers. Despite the volume my companion was struggling to decipher some of the dialogue and some of the lyrics.

The performance was, at times, nervous with hats and glasses falling off and actors missing their cue.  Sometmes the view of the action during key moments, from our seats, was blocked by the cast at the front of the stage. This was the first public performance. Hopefully the show will find its flow later in the run.

Review: Stephen Oliver.

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