I always meant to see Priscilla the Musical during its initial Sydney run. I mean, I adored the movie and was drawn to the new soundtrack and the appeal of the legendary Tony Sheldon in the role of Bernadette (played by Terence Stamp in the movie).
Of course. I never got round to it and before too long, it had shifted to Melbourne and then London with Jason Donovan joining the cast as Tick (aka Mitzi). So, when we were planning the trip to London, I just knew that we had to see the musical in the West End.
Confession time. I have always been a huge Jason fan. In Neighbours, he was the classic Aussie boy next door and as he went on to show, he could act and he could sing. He did go through a rough patch in his career because of drugs and losing touch with reality. He did make the career destroying decision to sue Face magazine (although I totally understood why he did it and it was nothing to do with homophobia). But he has cleaned up his act and been very upfront about his mistakes. You have to admire him for that. And Jason has got his career back on track.
Back to Priscilla. We were able to get a good price through http://www.lastminute.com and the blurb said best possible seats at time of booking. We had to wait until we got to the theatre to discover where we were sitting. Front row centre – we were certainly happy.
We were even happier when Jason first appeared, doing his walking on the spot routine that he did so well in his pop clip “When You Come Back To Me” all those years ago. Our jaws dropped when he started stripping off and changing into his drag persona right in front of us, leaving nothing to the imagination (and I do mean nothing). We literally could have reached out and touched him.
Let me say right here that Jason may be older and he may have been surrounded by buffer and younger men, but he was still the hottest guy on stage by a mile. His acting was top notch and he can still sing.
He looks good in drag too. 😉
We were also very lucky in that Tony Sheldon had come to London to reprise his role as Bernadette. I believe that this is his West End debut following a long and illustrious theatre career in Australia and he certainly showed his brilliance to the London audience. He was superb. I first saw Tony in the lead role of “Torch Song Trilogy” many, many moons ago and was very impressed. More recently, I saw him in the Melbourne production of “Witches of Eastwick” in a small but pivotal role as the long suffering husband of the character who spewed cherries.
Tony certainly owned the role of Bernadette and played well against Jason and Oliver Thornton as Adam/Felicia. Most of the movie was there and it transferred very well to the stage. The ABBA songs were gone but the switch to Kylie worked just as well, also providing Jason a good little in-joke. There were a lot more songs added (it is a musical after all) from the 60s, 70s and 80s and it really felt like they had raided my record collection. No complaints from me in that regard. 🙂
As I said, we were front row centre which was mostly great. The only time it was a problem was during the famous scene recreated from the movie where Felicia is atop the bus in the giant shoe singing opera. It was hard to see that clearly but we at least we got to see it from a unique angle when the bus and then Felicia extended out over the edge of the stage right above us.
I do highly recommend the show – the music, the choregraphy and the costumes were all top notch and showed that no expense had been spared. The performances by the leads and the ensemble were just as dazzling.
And did I mention that Jason is still hot? 😉