Darlington Hippodrome was brimming with glitz, glamour, fake eyelashes and a bus full of talent on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018, as the Darlington Operatic Society performed their take on “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”.
Based on the 1994 Oscar-winning movie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert follows the heart-warming adventure of two drag queens, Tick (Nicholas Fletcher-Holmes) and Adam (Luke Oldfield), and a transgender woman, Bernadette (Julian Cound).
The trio travel across Australia in their battered old bus named Priscilla in the search for love and friendship, though they end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of.
From the word go, Priscilla Queen of the Desert is a highly extravagant and hugely entertaining production. The show is brilliantly led by the three leading “ladies”, who fill the high heels of the main characters magnificently, strutting around the stage in their flamboyant dresses and sky-scraping wigs, complete with risqué jokes and sharp one-liners.
Amongst the sexual innuendos and double entendres are some brilliantly handled heart-warming moments, for instance, an affectionate father-son bonding scene involving Nicholas Fletcher-Holmes and child actor Matthew Scott (in the role of Benji). The sheer contrast in tone in comparison to the all-singing, all-dancing numbers is testament to the diverse range of acting talents on display.
The leading ladies are joined by a terrific ensemble and live orchestra, as they sing and dance their way through a parade of dance floor classics, including “Venus”, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “I Will Survive”. Each of the well-loved anthems is performed to an extremely high standard, and has been brilliantly staged and choreographed by Martyn Knight.
Not only does the Darlington Operatic Society sound the part, but they also look the part too, as each member of the cast dazzles in a multitude of glamorous outfits and lavish make-up. They are backed by a tremendous set design, most notably an LED-lit bus topped with a giant pink heel and complete with rotating wheels.
Overall, Priscilla Queen of the Desert is yet another high-end production from the Darlington Operatic Society. The talented ensemble successfully overcome every challenge thrown their way, something they will be hoping to continue when they swap the battered old bus for the magic flying car when “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” rolls into town in October.
Darlington Operatic Society’s “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” is at the Darlington Hippodrome until Saturday, April 28th, 2018. Tickets can be purchased from the Darlington Operatic Society website or by calling 01325 244659.