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Academic Curriculum

Priscilla Queen of the Desert Excursion

Written by William Woodward and Finn Warren

On the 6th of June, the Waverley Entertainment classes for Years 11 and 12 went to the Capitol Theatre in Sydney to see the  Musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert. As the students walked into the theatre everyone was amazed by not just the play, but the brilliant architecture inside of the theatre with all of the classic designs, stars on the ceiling and statues.

The musical production itself was a sensational experience for our students, so that they could see a large-scale theatrical production that included amazing production elements such as; lighting, vision, set design, costumes, acting and choreography. The music was incredible! Hit songs such as; It’s Raining Men, Shake Your Groove Thing, I Will Survive and countless others, entertained us.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert is about two drag queens and a transsexual; Mizi, Felicia and former Les Girls, Bernadette who board a battered old bus named Priscilla to travel from Sydney across the desert to fulfill a performance engagement in the middle of Australia, Alice Springs. These three fish out of water make their own personal journeys of discovery as they frock up and put on a show like anything the locals have ever seen before.  The jukebox musical based on Stephen​ Elliott’s hit film is directed by Simon Phillips. It is a funny and outgoing version of the movie, with humorous and “trashy” jokes that gets the audience involved with the musical. For example, at the beginning of Act 2 some audience members were asked to get up on stage and join in with the country dancing scene in the pub. This was fun and dynamic and enriched the actor-audience relationship.

In comparing the original movie to this theatre production, each of the three leads gave the movie actors a run for their money, especially the character that Guy Pearce played, Adam/Felicia. Each actor was exceptional in their role. The musical tried to stick to the original roots as much as possible, and the scenes that were cut, didn’t impact the storyline at all. The audience found it hilarious that they kept the ping-pong scene in the play. The musical was highly entertaining because of all the jokes, having everyone in tears, especially the scene with the Bogan lady in the bar.

The amount of work that went into the lighting of the production had everyone stunned. The bus was the most impressive factor in the musical as the LED lights gave it amazing special effects. During the performance they had three female cast members lowered down from the top of the rig, clearly they covered WHS concerns as the actors were wearing harnesses to ensure they were safe and they sang most of the great songs live while the drag queens lip-synced.

At the end of the production we were left with a smile on our faces and we walked out thinking back on the hilarious jokes and are still laughing. It was great to see an issue like homophobia being portrayed on stage both seriously and comically.  They couldn’t have done it better.

Thank you to the Drama and Entertainment Department, and especially Mr Lamb and Miss Jinga for this amazing experience.