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Nomads Musical Theatre

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Arlington Arts, Newbury.

Review of Priscilla Queen of the Desert

3rd to 6th October 2018

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Nomads have the audience on their feet, clapping, whistling and roaring their appreciation

Newbury Nomads: Priscilla Queen of the Desert the musical, at the Corn Exchange, from Wednesday, October 3, to Saturday, October 6

There was once a theatre reviewer who simply wrote 'Brilliant!'. Having seen Nomads' Priscilla, I can understand why he felt one word covered the whole performance. I am tempted to copy him.

Nevertheless, tribute must be paid to the production team and performers who had worked so hard to produce a show which, as it closed on Friday, had the audience on their feet, clapping, whistling and roaring their appreciation.

For this was something very special in Newbury musical theatre.

The story is of three friends, two drag queens, Tick/Mitzi (Jon Lovell) and Adam/Felicia (Tom Hazelden), plus a transgender woman Bernadette (Stuart Honey), who set off in Priscilla, a battered van, to do a performance in Alice Springs. Tick's secret agenda is to meet his small son Benji (Tom Scott-Cound), who he has never seen.

The bus breaks down, but they get there with the help of Bob (Daniel Maskell). Among the many folk they encounter, they find their drag act is not appreciated by the lads who live in the outback, who prefer Cynthia's erotic dance (Holly Lucas upping the temperature of every man in the audience). Eventually Tick meets Benji, Bernadette falls for Bob and it's all starry skies.

Backed by a first-rate cast, the three friends, Lovell, Hazelden and especially Honey, gave outstanding performances. Clad in the extraordinary, often difficult to move in, costumes, they sang, postured and ignited this glitzy story, bringing the three characters to vivid life. It takes hard work to achieve such excellence.

Those memorable songs - It's Raining Men, I Will Survive, Girls Just Want To Have Fun and many more – came thick and fast, led by three glittering divas, while the musicians, often half-hidden behind Priscilla, brought out the high-degree energy in the foot- tapping favourites, matching the joyous action.

With every entry of the well-drilled chorus – dancing and singing with fast and furious enjoyment and clad in yet more amazing costumes, sometimes quirky, sometimes fairytale, occasionally minimal, but always breathtaking – it seemed as though we were with the cast in another world.

Nomads are lucky to have the strong production team of director Amanda Maskell, assisted by Trevor Dobson, musical director Nic Cope, choreographer Ali Hoult and producer Richard George doing the work required to put on such a production, and do it in style.

Only one word to add. Brilliant!


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