REVIEW: Priscilla, Sunderland Empire

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CAMPER than a row of tents with a dash of cheeky charm and a splash of colourful dialogue thrown in for good measure, this show has all the ingredients for a fun-filled night out.

I last saw Priscilla in the West End and wasn’t sure how its larger-than-life staging would translate to a regional tour. I needn’t have worried.

In fact, I think I prefer this version.

The effects may be slightly pared down for a show which changes venues every week, but this only allows the plot to shine.

Underneath the shimmering sequins, towering wigs and eye-wateringly exotic costumes, there’s a real moral of the story about smashing prejudice, forging friendships and acceptance.

At the helm is my teenage heartthrob Jason Donovan, as avuncular drag queen Tick, aka Mitzi Mitosis, who takes Graham Weaver’s Felicia under his feather boa-clad arm to travel from cosmopolitan Sydney to the more traditional Alice Springs.

They are joined by Bernadette, played by former Neighbours and Emmerdale actor Richard Grieve.

They are a triple treat and I found myself eagerly anticipating which knock-out frocks they would don and what disco hit they would belt out next.

The music is a smorgasbord of disco divas, gay icons and girl power anthems from Go West and Colour My World to a medley of Kylie hits.

The fun and frivolity is punctuated by moments of poignancy, in particular, Tick’s meeting with his son Benji.

Their rendition of Always on My Mind almost had a self-confessed ice queen like me reaching for the Kleenex.

It doesn’t take the over-the-top trio long to get back into their fabulous frocks for a finale which had even the most straight-laced audience members boogying.

Katy Wheeler