Saturday, April 30, 2011

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

This will be my shortest review ever because I just don't care enough about this show to complain more. It's so mediocre, and I can barely remember any of it other than the crushing weight of disappointment I felt at watching it fall so flat.

The costumes are visually assaulting, sometimes in a good way (how the three leads' dresses fit together at the curtain call is worthy of a Tony all by itself). But I don't remember any of the songs, the show ends well after the emotionally satisfying reconciliation between drag queen and son, and, though his dad scenes are great, Will Swenson just doesn't sell the swish. That said, Tony Sheldon and C. David Johnson are great as Bernadette and Bob. And Nick Adams ... is very athletic.

This is a musical about two guys and a transgender woman traveling across the Australian desert to do a drag show at a big casino and for one of the guys to meet his young son. That should be awesome, right? The movie definitely is: It's smart, full of heart, and, appropriately for a movie about Australian drag queens, bitingly hilarious. This Broadway musical, however, is the Disney version of drag queens. I said funnier, gayer, more shocking things in high school than this gang does on stage. The clearest indication that the show is only trying to appear edgy--to make the tourists feel that they're seeing something shocking, without doing anything that might actually alienate middle Americans--is that the three people on the show's webpage are not the three leading men but instead three minor women. Yup, nary a drag queen in sight.

But I'm sure people will love the tour. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


  1. All too true. Great music! Great costumes! Greeee....zzzz....

    It should be so much better than it is, and the worst part is that I felt like every element was CLOSE. But it was robbed of any zing and any life by a lame book and direction. The personality was sucked out of it.

    I still think it would have been a better Best Musical nominee than Catch Me If You Can, though...

  2. I'm seeing CMIYC this weekend, but I based on what others have said, my expectations are low. Aaron Tveit is singing, so it can't be all bad. And I love Norbert Leo Butz. And I've never seen Kerry Butler, so I'm looking forward to that.

    As much as the show annoyed me, I think I would have preferred Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson to get the nod. At least it was very, very original. I didn't really agree with its vision, but it had one.

  3. I just rewatched the Priscilla movie and all the great costumes from the musical are ripped directly from the movie (other than the funeral scene). Including the Opera House. I withdraw my vote for them getting the costuming Tony.