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  • Writer's pictureJohn Murray


Looking at the description for this musical it seems to have everything and if the music era matches the age group then it becomes even more attractive. Additionally, and it’s a big draw – the star is former teen heart throb Jason Donovan. It was he who first came to prominence in the daily TV soap Neighbours which subsequently launched his pop career resulting in two multi-platinum albums and the biggest selling artist of 1989. When the music started to fade his theatre career blossomed as Joseph (and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) and more recently the West End production of Priscilla of which he plays the same role in the Edinburgh season of the UK tour. Suffice to say an audible gasp greeted his stage entrance early on and this turned to whoops of joy when he got his kit off moments later. Not that this is a naughty show – camp adult humour yes and plenty of it as three drag queens drive across Australia for a show in an old bus. This is no Summer Holiday though with drama, comedy and the biggest disco songbook carefully chosen round the plot. The mini-musical within surrounding Donna Summer’s Macarthur Park is an ingenious spectacle. The many costumes and choreography will amaze too illustrating hits like I Love The Nightlife, Boogie Wonderland, Hot Stuff and I Will Survive among others. All three cross dressers are critical to the story and each have their own solo spotlight. Jason of course as lead features heavily and has solo songs to savour delivering with ease. Simon Green as Bernadette is a convincing dame and Adam Bailey as Felicia is comic brilliance commanding the stage with every move after setting up the lines for the other two. For the Edinburgh shows only Scottish actors Gavin Mitchell (Boaby the barman from Still Game) adopts an Oz accent for his role as Bob and Karen Dunbar, known mainly for her TV series Chewin’ The Fat plays Shirley brilliantly like a panto cameo. The fact that parties now attend as part of a colourful night out and along with that glitzy soundtrack will ensure Priscilla will continue to be revived and followed wherever good times are planned.

Edinburgh Playhouse till Jan 2

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