Muddy watches: Priscilla Queen of the Desert
It was opening night of Priscilla Queen of the Desert yesterday and lookey here, you already have my review hot off the keyboard (despite imbibing cocktails and trying to stop Grand Muddy scrambling to the stage to see Duncan from Blue). Yup, that’s right, Dunc (as I like to call him – after meeting him briefly at an after show party over a decade ago – which he clearly promptly forgot), is starring as Tick in the international smash hit musical, showing on Northants turf at the Royal & Derngate. And worry not, it’s on until Saturday, so still time to get your tickets Mudsters.
You may remember Duncan James, the chiselled jaw songstrel as one quarter of the pop band Blue, but in recent years he’s been treading the boards, and using his vocals for the power of good (not that I’m dissing Blue you understand). A star in Legally Blonde and Chicago, this guy is hot property right now; it’s a wonder he didn’t melt the rink when he was a finalist on ITV1’s Dancing on Ice!
But enough about Duncan from Blue, what about the show!!!
Well, it doesn’t take much persuasion to get me out to anything that has boys, dressed as girls. The music is invariably fabulous and the vibe always fun, fun and more fun; and last night didn’t disappoint. The Derngate was bouncing with chattering excitement, and when we took our seats, it was clear to see they’d scored a full house. And why not? Despite the pull of Duncan from Blue, this musical has a huge fan base. Based on the movie of the same name, it’s a proper heart-warming, uplifting adventure, with a twist. For those who have never seen it (get the film immediately, then go and watch the show the very same evening), it follows the japes of three Australian drag queens who hop aboard a battered old bus (Priscilla) searching for love and friendship. And as with many up-lifting stories of the same ilk, they end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of.
The costumes are suitably outrageous (how the hell do they walk in those shoes), and add to that a hit parade of dance-floor favourites like Say a Little Prayer, Go West and Hot Stuff, and you have the perfect concoction for camp camaraderie and utter fabulousness (and that was just the audience)!
Now did I mention Duncan from Blue? Well he really has smashed through the cookie cutter, popsicle he once was, and entertained the audience with both laughs and pathos. It was hard not to root for him from the get go. But also, it would be remiss of me not to mention the other two main leads, Adam Bailey who played Adam, aka Felicia (the role made famous by Guy Pearce – Mike in neighbours), and Simon Green who played Bernadette (played spectacularly in the film by Terence Stamp). They were both SUPERB! The bounce in Bailey’s step and sheer energy in his performance made me want to join him on stage and belt out ‘I am what I am’! And Green? It was like watching Terence Stamp right in front of my eyes, at one point I wanted him to turn to me and say ‘kneel before Zod!’ (different film, but Superman fans will know ; ) He was just perfect.
I loved every bit of this musical and would urge you to try and get tickets if you have a spare two hours in your schedule this week. Sometimes it’s easy on a cold night to don the bed socks and curl up in front of the TV with a cocoa, but let me tell you, it won’t make you smile, dance, laugh and cry like this will; AND you don’t have to travel all the way to London for a London standard show. It’s right here on your doorstep. Go. You won’t regret it (as you can see, Grand Muddy didn’t)!
Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical burst onto the Derngate stage on Monday 4 April and is showing until Saturday 9 April. Performances at 7.30pm nightly and matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets priced from £17 to £40 can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.