Take two drag queens, a transgender woman and a bus and you have the story of their race to get from Sydney to Alice Springs in time to perform their act at Lasseter’s Hotel Casino Resort. Adventures occur along the way, including the bus breaking down and being repaired by a local mechanic which leads to an unexpected and warm relationship, and add as many disco tunes as possible. The result is Priscilla Queen of the Desrt which is an uplifting musical with the serious aspect of homosexuality and it’s acceptance playing a major part in the show, especially as one of the drag queens is still married and is about to meet his 6 year old son for the first time.
This production is proudly sponsored by Myerson Solicitors
Production Photographs by Vish Sharma
- Tick/Mitzi – Todd Bennett
- Adam/Felicia – Rhys Nuttall
- Bernadette – Mark Butt
- Diva – Lara Hancox
- Diva – Lauren Whiteley
- Diva – Rachel Gerring
- Bob – Ivor Farley
- Cynthia – Claire Garrett
- Shirley – Caroline Knight
- Benji – Dylan Williams
- Marion – Sarah Reilly
- Miss Understanding – Brendan Cunningham
- Farrah/Young Bernadette – Jack Gibson
- Frank – Josh Crook
- Errol – Danny McCarrick
- Pastor/Barman – James Desmond
Ensemble & Dancers
- Ceri Graves, Emma Lester, Stuart Angus, Tara Kitson, Katie Blackett, Hannah Cound, Sara Nelson, Danny McCarrick, James Desmond, Jack Gibson, Josh Crook, Dominic Smith, Maisie Marsden, Joshua Smith, Meg Dempster, Greg James, Jen Kirton, Patti Kirton, Charlie Lewis
Review by Rick Bowen for Stagestruck
DYNAMIC young director Joseph Meighan makes a welcome return to the stage with his and this theatre’s best production to date. You simply must not miss this vocal and visual treat, packed full of outrageous humour and costumes so unashamedly camp your eyes could easily pop out when you see them. Inspired by a movie that I would certainly rank as a modern day classic it’s the tale of two drag queens and a transgender woman who journey across Australia to perform their unique brand of cabaret. As you can imagine they encounter prejudice along the way – small town means small minds in too many places – and one of them faces the daunting prospect of being re-united with his young son. Beneath the laughter are serious messages about the need to look beyond our differences and live together in harmony. But no point in the evening do you feel preached to, thanks Stephen Elliott and Allan Scott’s first class script. Some of the dialogue, the put downs in particular, are both priceless and brilliant. This brings me on to the performance of the three leads, Todd Bennett (Tick/Mitzi), Rhys Nuttall (Adam/Felicia) and Mark Butt, who is a revelation as the transsexual Bernadette. I really liked the way he played the scenes with Bob, the trio’s unlikely knight in shining armour, a perfectly cast Ivor Farley. Todd Bennett also treats us to an inspired rendition of the timeless classic MacArthur Park, which came mighty close to bringing the house down. With a score that’s sure to have Victor Meldrew tapping his feet and a musical director in the shape of none other than Mark Goggins, Altrincham Garrick has a huge hit on its hands. You simply must see this – at least twice. What a way to end a season. Star rating ★★★★★
Review by Nicky Lambert for North West End
As I sat waiting for the show to begin tonight, I looked at the orchestra pit which is actually a huge hole in the stage of the Garrick and all I could think was “how on earth are they going to manage to navigate around that in heels?” This is an everyday(!) story of two drag queens, a transsexual and a pink bus…so not your run of the mill ‘safe’ musical and quite a brave choice as it’s very risqu with some choice language at times. From the beginning of the overture with the accompanying lights and mirror ball, the audience is completely enveloped in kitsch, camp and even more camp until the end notes of the finale. My first “Bravery in Heels” award has to go to Brendan Cunningham as Miss Understanding ? His saucy looks and not so subtle innuendo was perfectly placed and at times, he reminded me of a half-crazed bird of paradise so what a great way to start the show. I literally held my breath as he walked backwards in heels right on the edge of the orchestra pit but I needn’t have worried. The three main roles: Tick, Bernadette and Adam (Felicia) are larger than life, in fact they’re great big, out-there characters so they cannot be underplayed and the casting of Todd Bennett (Tick), Rhys Nuttall (Adam) and Mark Butt (Bernadette) is inspired. Todd encompasses Tick’s serious side but also camps it up royally, particularly during the ‘McArthur Park’ scene which earned its own round of applause. He also has a much better voice than Jason Donovan (who was cast as Tick in the West End and the national tour). Mark’s version of Bernadette was everything that I love about this character. He gave her class, elegance and poise – and managed to deliver Bernadette’s killer one liners with cut glass aplomb (“do I LOOK like a bus person?!”) The rest are too rude to reproduce here but trust me, they’re hilarious. Priscilla may be Queen of the Desert but Bernadette is Queen of the Put Down. And Rhys…oh my goodness…I don’t think I’ll be able to see him in anything else in the same light again…! I have to say that this was the best version of Adam/Felicia that I have ever seen. He completely inhabited the role and then some with his high energy performance – not to mention his fearlessness in being almost naked in front of the audience…then donning a very clingy dress and silver heels…then running round the stage in them. Oh and he can certainly work a basque! One of the stand out moments of the show is ‘Sempre Libra’ which Rhys performs on his own…it is an absolutely amazing showstopper. The Three Divas (Lara Hancox, Lauren Whiteley and Rachel Gerring) sounded fabulous and did a sterling and sparkling job. Another special mention must go to Claire Garrett who played Cynthia. All I’m saying is…ping pong balls. You’ll just have to go and see it to find out. I must congratulate Dylan Williams (Benji) on his great accent and despite this being his first stage performance, I didn’t see any sign of nerves at all. The ensemble scenes were quite amazing ? not only because every one of them was a fantastic and colourful spectacle to behold but because of the high quality of everyone’s performance. There was a massive hole in the stage but everyone navigated around it perfectly without seeming to even have to look where they were placing their feet! I am lost in admiration. I really enjoyed the choreography of all these numbers and I feel I have to give a special mention to Stuart Angus, one of the ensemble, who absolutely nailed all the moves and had a smile that dazzled as much as the sequins. The costumes are breathtakingly fabulous and as for the lightning speed of the costume changes ? this is quite unbelievable, I can only imagine what the stress levels must be like backstage so a big well done to everyone involved! One of my favourite scenes comes at the end of part one and sees the company wearing the over the top wide legged trousers and huge wigs which have become the trademark of this show. It was performed outstandingly and the five stars that I have awarded could have come from that scene alone. The final scene at Ayres Rock is extremely powerful and uplifting and then we are hit with a dazzlingly colourful finale with some absolutely stunning costumes. Everyone involved in this show should be so proud. A huge well done must go to Joseph Meighan (Director) and Louise Pettitt (Choreographer) for doing such an outstanding job in what must be a very challenging space to work in (did I mention there’s a huge hole in the stage!) ‘Priscilla’ is a story of triumphing over adversity and also has a message about acceptance but it’s also just really good fun and a hysterical night out. This production more than does the original cult film justice. It’s colourful, over the top and just downright fabulous.
Do not miss this camper-than-a-row-of-tents, hilarious, dazzlingly brilliant spectacle. You’ll never know unless you give it a go! Star rating ★★★★★ Five Fabulously Flamboyant Stars
Save Money as a Garrick Member
Find out how to save money as a Garrick Member for as little as £20.00 per year.
Membership also shows your support for the theatre and can also open a whole new world for you – we are always looking for new talent, any age, to work in all areas of the theatre – no experience is necessary as you will be given full training by our qualified staff.
We promise you that the satisfaction of a job well done, will really surprise you, as well as new friends waiting to meet you. Please pick up an Application form from the Box Office or write to the Membership secretary, at the theatre.