Glitter, feathers, drag queens. It can only mean one thing, Priscilla is in town and it’s bold, bright and beautiful. WBOS never fail to impress with their productions and Priscilla was no different. It was hard to believe that this was an amateur production, because there was nothing “amateur” about it. Every single person on that stage delivered a performance of the absolute highest standard and it could easily be mistaken for a professional UK tour.
As soon as the three divas descended, the audience knew they were in for a treat. Featuring hit after hit, you can’t help but be swept along by this uplifting musical. Niamh Allen, Sarah Moors and Tasheka Coe were faultless throughout. Harmonies were tight, vocals dazzled and they brought the sass.
Telling the story of two drag queens and a transgender woman who embark on a trip to Alice Springs for a drag show engagement, the tale sees them find more than they bargained for along the way. The trio of Tye Harris (Tick/Mitzi), John Wetherall (Bernadette) and Zac Hollinshead (Adam/Felicia) was glorious. Harris was wonderful as the loveable Tick and Hollinshead dazzled as Adam, whilst John Wetherall brought a beautiful honesty to his performance. This trio carefully balanced comedy and portrayed some intensely poignant moments exceedingly well.
There was some great support from Simon Pugh as Bob, Katie Walker as Marion and Georgie Hodson sparkled as Benji - his duet of Always On My Mind/Say A Little Prayer with Harris was utterly captivating.
Priscilla also allows for some blisteringly brilliant cameos and WBOS continued to surprise through the night, as we were introduced to an array of hilarious characters. Elliott Mann’s Miss Understanding was a sheer joy, leaving the audience in fits of laughter, whilst Sophie Louise Johnson's newly found ping pong skills as Cynthia were a hit with the audience. Plus with Daniel Haddon’s Pastor and Trish Humphreys’ Shirley, the laughs came thick and fast.
The costumes provided by Charades Theatrical Costume Hire and the wardrobe team of Amy Pearson and Craig Smith must be applauded, alongside the Wig Mistress Pat Badger, the amount of work required to deliver this show would not have been possible without them, plus the slick stage management (led by Nick Smith) enabled the set to transform quickly without any undue pauses. Colin Wood’s lighting impressed and as I sit listing these names it’s clear to see that there wasn’t a weak link in this company; on or offstage.
Under the direction of Ben Cole, who in collaboration with Claire Flavell delivered the choreography, the time, effort and energy placed into this production is abundantly clear. The movement was clean, clever and energetic and the Midland Concert Orchestra shone under the Musical Direction of Adam Joy. In a show filled with impressive trios, Cole, Flavell and Joy are yet another, because the magnitude of this creation is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Alongside all of this, what makes this show even more special is the important message behind it all: celebrating who you are. And last night WBOS celebrated who they were in style and if the standing ovation is anything to go by, the audience were all celebrating with them.
The Priscilla bus is in town at Wolverhampton Grand until Saturday 28 April.
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