BWW Reviews: Dazzling PRISCILLA Launches Gammage 2013-2014 season
ASU Gammage has assembled an impressive and eclectic 2013-2014 season and PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL is an irresistible opener.
Beaming and scenic, PRISCILLA finds success with its wardrobe, make-up, technicolor dream bus, and startling sincere spirit for a jukebox musical. It manages a fair re-creation of the 1994 Australian film with little time for scenework. And athleticism abound as the cast (and quick change crew!) move through more than 500 costumes designed by Oscar and Tony winners Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardner. They've created near impossible transitions from full drag to street clothes just moments after extended production numbers. With each triumphant change it begins to feel like the show continues offstage and on.
The title refers to the dazzling bus the primary characters, three very different drag performers, use to get from Sydney to the remote town of Alice Springs where employment awaits. "Priscilla" is sometimes a set piece, sometimes a dazzling 2013 Lite Brite, and always provoking a "how'd they do that?" curiosity.
Scott Willis as Bernadette slides between underdog ingenue and Rosalind Russell dry wit diva. The development of her relationship wth Bob (Joe Hart) is the heart of the show. He, Wade McCollum as Tick/Mitzi, and Bryan West as Adam/Felicia take turns (ahem...) driving the bus throughout the deft staging by Simon Philips.
The timing of this stop by the 1st National Tour feels like a champagne bottle being bashed across the front of the ASU Gammage season. It's an opening night party six days long. PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL runs through September 22nd. www.gammage.com