I said it before and I will say it again - "Priscilla: Queen of the Desert" is about the most fun you will ever have in the theatre.
The confetti shooting, thumb snapping, feet stomping, disco infused musical finally made its way to San Francisco this week and is a complete and utter delight. Alas, scoop up tickets now as it only plays through the end of the month.
I saw the movie, the London musical and the Broadway show and this touring version is on par with production values and energy from these other productions. There is definitely nothing lost in translation and nothing lost on the road (a lot of shows tone down a bit to take on the road to save time and money on setting up and tearing down the sets). But this "Priscilla" has perfected its art on the road. After playing countless performances en route to the City by the Bay, the girl is seamless.
"Priscilla" is the tale of three drag queens from Sydney who literally take their show on the road in a bus named Priscilla, singing popular songs and meeting interesting characters along the way. Bob's wife is one who comes to mind.
San Franciscans on opening night were very familiar with the story that it almost seems to have a cult following in which people would "pre applaud" for certain bits or characters. Perhaps there were one or two that enjoyed it a little too much and were on the verge of being hecklers. But fortunately they really didn't get out of control and just enjoyed the party that is "Priscilla."
If the award winning over the top costumes from Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel don't win you over (and how could those cake dresses and giant head gear not blow anyone away), then you'll succumb to the music of Madonna and popular dance songs such as "I Will Survive," "Hot Stuff," "I Love the Nightlife" and "It's Raining Men."
It did rain men, hallelujah. The three leads actors definitely had their own appeal, but those background dancers who often were in skimpy attire had enormous...stage presence especially the Adonis Taurean Everett - quite a chew toy in the making. It was so hard to take your eyes off of him, but when he was not on stage we were about to focus on our trio of stars.
First, we have Bryan West as Adam/Felicia. He is the youthful one of the bunch, jumping around singing Madonna songs and making some spectacular dance moves. He's truly the comic relief of the three and stepping into Nick Adams shoes from Broadway is no easy task. But like Cinderella, he made them fit and keeps the energy high.
Then there's Scott Willis who takes on the tough role of Bernadette. The character is seasoned and feminine and Tony Sheldon really put his (Terence) Stamp on it and even got a Tony nomination. But Willis wins us over with his sweet charm and demeanor and fun barbs he shares with West. Like Bernadette, Willis is the heart of the show.
Finally, we have Wade McCollum as Tick/Mitzi. It’s no secret that I am a huge McCollum fan since he was in the Bay Area production of “Fly By Night” and he continues to amaze in the web series “Submissions Only.” In “Priscilla” he outshines – himself. He brings humor, sensitivity, sexiness and life to his character – all with a spot on Australian accent and a singing voice that can be heard even over the show’s one semi-heckler. McCollum is the soul of “Priscilla” and adds so much depth to a show that relies more on style over substance. But McCollum gives us both. And even his abs might make Everett jealous.
I could point out every great thing about “Priscilla” but this isn't a novel. Sure the show lacks depth. But with all that goes on in the world, sometimes we need a break for our brain and enjoy something that’s just fun. For certain, this “Desert” is truly dessert.
It’s unfortunate though that such a show meant for San Francisco only plays 10 days. There will be no last minute "held over by popular demand" as three days after it leaves us, it will be in Colorado. So get your tickets now – if you lag you lose – at www.shnsf.com.
Of course, if you can’t get your fill, you can become a Priscillan and follow it around the country (or the U.K., Italy or Sweden) on your vacation. Follow the show at www.priscillathemusical.com.
See my interview with McCollum on a different show att http://progressivepulse.com/art/web-series-multi-talented-mccollum-found...