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REVIEW: Priscilla coloured Dereham’s world with happiness

PUBLISHED: 14:03 04 October 2017

Dereham Theatre Company performs Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, at the Memorial Hall.  Picture: Ashley Cashfield

Dereham Theatre Company performs Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, at the Memorial Hall. Picture: Ashley Cashfield

Ashley Cashfield

There was some pretty offensive language, plenty of bare flesh on show and somewhat sexual content at times - so was Dereham ready for Priscilla?

Dereham Theatre Company performs Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, at the Memorial Hall.  Picture: Ashley Cashfield Dereham Theatre Company performs Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, at the Memorial Hall. Picture: Ashley Cashfield

Judging by the opening night standing ovation for Dereham Theatre Company’s latest, rather risque, musical, I’d say most definitely yes.

Based on the 1994 Australian comedy-drama film the musical adaptation is fast paced and leaves little to the imagination.

Following the story of two drag queens and a transsexual woman crossing the Australian outback to perform in Alice Springs, Priscilla Queen of the Desert is story of self-discovery and acceptance.

The musical intermingles well-known pop songs into the plot and the Dereham cast gave them everything they’d got.

Dereham Theatre Company will perform Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, in October.  Picture: Ashley Cashfield Dereham Theatre Company will perform Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, in October. Picture: Ashley Cashfield

Drag queens Tick (Lee Johnson) and Adam (Joshua Lee) and transsexual Bernadette (Paul Ellingford) managed a great contrast in performing everything from the rousing Colour My World and Go West to the more sensitive and thought-provoking True Colours which had beautiful harmonies.

Hats, or wigs, off to the Divas though for their choral support (Emma Galley, Chloe Hunter, Laura Marvell-James and Cathy Wilson) each taking turns to lead a song with terrific ability.

While the three main characters are on stage pretty much all the time and have the lion’s share of the show the rest of the supporting cast also deserves plaudits, not least the guys having to wear some fairly saucy costumes and six-inch high heels while balancing giant feathered hair pieces on their heads. Some looked more at home in corsets, heels and stockings than others!

And that leads me on to the costumes. They really stole the show, everything from dresses to look like paint brushes and cupcakes, to the luminous flared trousers and leotards, and a different headdress for every number. It must have required a military operation backstage to get the lightning-fast costume changes down to a tee. Credit must go to Michelle Blanks and Dereham Theatre Costumes for making this happen.

Priscilla, the battered tour bus, was a feat of engineering too.

In fact so much effort has gone into this production we felt Dereham should surely tour it around East Anglia.

It really is a show not to be missed.

Book your tickets for the remaining shows here.

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