Saturday, March 21, 2009

Australian drag queens come to the West End

For Rosie's birthday, we went with our friends Joe and Dana to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert - The Musical, which is still in previews here in London. Our family is a huge fan of the movie, which was a cult classic, and we listen to the soundtrack frequently. So we were very excited when we found out they had turned it into a musical and it was coming to London (it's been playing in Sydney for the last two years).

For those of you who haven't seen the movie, the story is about three lip-syncing drag queens who go on a road trip from Syndey to Alice Springs. As one would imagine, they run into all kinds of adventures in small towns on the way, all accompanied by their lip-syncing performances to such songs as I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor), Go West (The Village People), and Shake Your Groove Thing (Peaches and Herb).

The musical was written by Stephan Elliott, who wrote and directed the movie, and it has the same costume designers as the movie -- and the costumes are as much a part of the show as anything. It's fair to say that the musical is very similar to the movie; the characters and plot are very much the same. So while we were looking forward to seeing it, we also were a bit wary of being disappointed by the lack of innovation.

Suffice it to say we were not disappointed one bit. The show uses many of the same songs from the movie, and adds some new ones, such as Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. It manages to out-camp the original, both in the sets, costumes, and the performances. It really was fun seeing the movie come to life. There were some nice additions to the story and the performances were all solid.

We suspect that when the show opens (next Monday), that it will likely get lukewarm reviews from the critics. Most don't seem to go for musicals adapted from movies, and I doubt this will be much different. But I believe it will also do very well with audiences, similar to how Mamma Mia was received when it opened.

My recommendation is to definitely see this show, whether you've seen (and liked) the movie or not. Assuming it is at least moderately successful here, I imagine it will be brought to Broadway within a couple of years.

There's a short clip from the Australian production on YouTube.

No comments:

Post a Comment