Theatre reviews: Priscilla Queen of this Desert, Playhouse, Edinburgh

Theatre reviews: Priscilla Queen of this Desert, Playhouse, Edinburgh

A young gay man is beaten up by local thugs IN a DARK street. Both in drama and in reality; and it’s no coincidence that it features in both of the big mainstage shows playing in Edinburgh this week, at the Festival and Playhouse theatres it’s a common scene. In Cabaret, it is the growth of Nazi physical violence in the streets of 1930s Berlin; as well as in Priscilla Queen for the Desert, it is a number of rednecks in a tiny city into the Australian bush using it away on Adam (also referred to as Felicia), the young Sydney drag queen who may have accompanied our hero Tick and his older trans buddy Bernadette for a riotous coach journey across Australia to Alice Springs, where Tick – now likewise a drag queen in Sydney – wants to reconnect using the the son he fathered during a quick youthful wedding.

Priscilla Queen of this Desert, Playhouse, Edinburgh **** | Still No Idea, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh ****

Joe McFadden, Miles Western and Nick Hayes celebrate all of the camp joys of drag

In line with the famous 1994 movie – with book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott – the 2006 phase musical type of Priscilla is just a celebratory coming-out show par excellence, revelling within the freedom to place queer tradition centre phase, and celebrate all of the super-camp joys of drag. This latest British touring version, featuring Joe McFadden, Miles Western and Nick Hayes catches all that explosive exuberance, although Charles Cusick-Smith’s costumes are often up to now within the top as to look more pantomime dame than glamorous drag queen.

McFadden acts beautifully as Tick (aka Mitzi del Bra), although he appears a shade less confident with the dance; and there’s effective help perhaps not just from their two other queens, but from Daniel Fletcher as Bernadette’s brand new admirer Bob, as well as the three fabulous singing divas – Aiesha Pease, Claudia Kariuki and Rosie Glossop – ukrainian brides club who become guardian angels.

There is certainly a presssing problem concerning the portrayal of non-trans women in this show;

Tick’s estranged spouse barely features, and also as for Bob’s soon-discarded mail-order bride from Thailand – well, the language offensive label barely protect it. Yet it’s difficult to resist a show that expresses therefore joy that is much and such an exciting sense of a journey towards freedom; and Priscilla’s splendid magpie playlist of good tracks through the 80s and previous – which range from Go western to I Will Survive – makes the show an irresistible good particular date, with impressive help from musical manager Sean Green, and a seven-strong real time musical organization whose brilliant music-making raises the Playhouse roof.

If homosexual and trans individuals have frequently been victims of oppressive regimes and attitudes, then people who have disabilities frequently fall target towards the exact same types of politics; and despite their light-touch, comedy-duo style, there’s an unforgettable part of severe governmental caution in Lisa Hammond and Rachael Spence’s effective show Nevertheless no clue, co-scripted with manager Lee Simpson.

First produced nine years ago as No clue, the show recounts exactly what took place when Hammond – an actress that is four-foot a wheelchair – and Spence, a performer of strikingly “normal” look, sought out into the roads of London to inquire about individuals just what their show should really be about.

The findings had been slightly chilling, with interviewees initially determined that Lisa – together with her “cheeky face” – should be the primary character, but, definitely struggling to compose her as a narrative, after they had been expected to assume the way the tale should develop.

As well as in this brand brand new form of the show, Hammond and Spence explore not only how this experience ended up being replicated, for Hammond, whenever she became a cast user of a “long-running fictional drama series” – simply to realize that her character ended up being never ever offered the main storylines she ended up being guaranteed – but also the way the situation has deteriorated throughout the final decade. The last image is of a age of deep cuts in impairment benefits, growing general general public punishment for the disabled, and a smug assumption in a few circles – maybe maybe not least in theatre – that the difficulty of inclusion for disables individuals has been sorted.

All of it appears a bit more bearable, however, seen through the prism of Hammond and Spence’s effective relationship: things are tough, claims this peaceful but hard-hitting show, but never ever totally without hope, or without humour.

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