Monthly Archives: October 2015

Review: Priscilla Queen of the Desert

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Priscilla is camp-tastic!!

The musical is based on the ‘90s film The Adventures of PriscillaQueen of the Desert. I have not had the opportunity to see the film, and therefore had nothing to compare it with. All I knew was that it was a drag show that had been recommended to me several times. So off I went to the press night at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre in great anticipation to find out what all the fuss was about. However, between you and me it would take a lot for a jukebox musical to impress me.

You clearly know you’re in for a good night when glitter balls light up the theatre from the word go! I turned to the lady next to me and said “Oooo it feels like Christmas”, she smiled and readily agreed. Then, within moments we glanced at each other again and grinned with glee as Jason Donovan was suddenly stripping down to his underwear before dressing in a purple corset and glittery make up. Ooh laa laa.

The show takes us on a journey of two drag queens and a transsexual (Jason Donavon, Simon Green and Adam Bailey) as they travel across the desert in a big pink bus to perform their unique style of cabaret, whilst in search of one of their children.

 Jason Donovan plays Tick, also known as a gay drag artist called Mitzi, who is a married man with a six-year-old son. I’ve seen Jason in a few shows now and this has to be his strongest for me. At times he didn’t look like he belonged, like he simply needed to relax into his role or maybe he just needed more outrageous costumes and make up like the other leads on stage.

The incredible Simon Green effortlessly plays a transsexual Bernadette, slipping into the role just as easy as he seemed to slip into his dresses. The third lead however was my fave – the flamboyant Adam Bailey who I could not take my eyes off as he played a gay eccentric Adam/Felicia. He simply outshone the rest bouncing around the stage with his amazing vocals, jokes and storytelling.

Priscilla features classics dance floor hits including Hot Stuff, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Venus, Go West and there is even a little Kylie thrown in there too – actually the Kylie scene although cheesy was hilarious! I personally loved the Say A Little Prayer duet between Tick (Jason Donovan) and his son Benji (Alesandro Bonelli). The three Diva’s played by Lisa-Marie Holmes, Laura Mansell and Catherine Mort deserve a shout off for their strong vocals and energy throughout.

As fun and upbeat as the show is, packed with glitter, fake eyelashes and over the top mesmerizing costumes, it also touches on some important social issues, which is when the ladies realise that not everyone in the world is accepting as them, which gives the show its important storyline.

Each production of Priscilla requires a staggering 500 costumes, 200 hats, 100 wigs, 150 pairs of shoes, and a mountain of mascara, not to mention a big pink bus giving the show its name. The costumes were simply amazing from huge platforms to singing cupcakes, to Shirley (Catherine Mort) the bartender with her braless breasts, which kept the show moving at a fast pace, I don’t think I took my eyes off the stage once.

As the curtain calls it was clear that Priscilla had totally won the hearts of the Aylesbury audience as they gave a strong standing ovation, whilst the stage was full of kangaroos, koalas and other Australian animals. To be fair, by that point anything goes.

Grab your tickets for the Priscilla bus whilst you can. It’s a unforgettable road trip worth taking again and again and again, but be warned – do watch out for Cynthia’s ping-pong balls!

The show runs at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until Saturday 31st October 2015. For more information and bookings go to http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre/

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Review – Thriller Live

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Direct from the West End, Thriller Live is a concert that has been created to celebrate the 45 year music history of the world’s greatest entertainer Michael Jackson. It covers from his early days in Jackson 5 to his solo career that actually shaped pop music today as we know it.

The show started out in London back in 2007. I saw it in 2014 and although I enjoyed it immensely, I felt it needed updating as it didn’t give me the wow factor I was expecting. It could be because I grew up with Michael Jackson’s solo music and not his early days in Jackson 5. When I heard Thriller was coming back to the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre I was intensely interested to see how it would differ, as I was aware it had been revamped and tweaked.

The show takes us through decades of music from the classic Jackson 5 song, which left me wanting more, to the world famous solo hits we all know by heart. Thriller doesn’t tell a story of the life of MJ, so if you’re looking for a show like Jersey Boys then this may not be for you. It is literally non stop-hits bringing MJ’s music back to life.

The enormous pressure on the performers has to be huge, as no doubt they will be compared to the King of Pop himself. There are actually 5 Michael Jacksons in the show, which can be rather confusing. Sean Christopher was the MJ lookalike, winning us over with his fabulous rendition of the famous moonwalk. Celopatra Higgins not only looked the part but was the power behind the show. She reminded me of Janet Jackson so maybe that’s why I warmed towards her. However, although she gave the show 100% I felt we could have had more from her. It was the anticipation of a powerful song to blow you away that kept me on edge, but unfortunately that didn’t materialise which was a great let down. Shaquille Maerice Hemmans and Michael Kavuma kept the audience entertained but for me they didn’t stand out.  As far as I am concerned the star of the evening was Rory Taylor who brought the rock aspect to the show. His vocals were clear and on point and he’s a name to remember.

Unfortunately Act I seemed a little false, just a cabaret. It was Act II that brought the show to life, from the 1920s replica of Smooth Criminal onwards, I was sold. The show was full off energy and dazzling choreography that pulled your eyes here there and everywhere. If I could have gotten away with putting my denim shorts on and joining them on stage I would have done so! Dirty Diana ticked every box, especially when the guitarist from the live on stage band came out to the front. The dancers were also amazingly energetic throughout the show, up beat and fresh with all the tricks, flips and not to mention the abs on show!

In my opinion you can’t beat it for top night out.

The show runs at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until Saturday 24th October 2015. For more information and bookings go to http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre/

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