Thirty years on, ‘Priscilla the Party!’ to immerse London audiences

By Thomson Reuters Mar 19, 2024 | 10:01 AM

By Hanna Rantala

LONDON (Reuters) – London audiences will from next week immerse themselves in cult comedy starring three extravagantly dressed drag artists, 30 years after “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” became an unexpected cinema hit.

A decade after the 1994 film, written and directed by Stephan Elliott, a musical version of his road comedy grew the story’s global following.

Those staging the latest iteration at a venue in London’s Soho district say bringing the audience into the action in an immersive production “Priscilla the Party!” was a natural evolution.

“It always felt like it was very hard to keep audiences in their seats. They were always wanting to stand up and dance anyway,” said director Simon Phillips, who also directed the original Priscilla musical.

Over the decades, much has changed and yet, in some ways, very little.

“I think the fact that that particular group of people were being seen as the heroes and heroines on stage (was) not a very common thing at the time that it was made,” Phillips said.

“It’s a much easier sell now, but its message remains the same. You know, it’s a message of acceptance and finding family where you find your family and all that kind of thing.”

From March 25, audiences will be singing and dancing along to classics such as “I will Survive”, “It’s Raining Men” and Kylie Minogue hits. Booking is open until the end of September.

For the audience-members in drag, it will be a struggle to compete with the cast.

“It’s very demanding. You know, we are singing, we are dancing, we are active. We’re in heels. We’re in corsets. We’ve got mic belts. We’ve got big headpieces on, you know, so we’re battling everything, but we absolutely love it,” said actor Reece Kerridge, who plays the part of Adam/Felicia.

(Reporting by Hanna Rantala; writing by Barbara Lewis; editing by Nick Macfie)