Full disclosure: I absolutely hate musicals that rely on pop music to tell a story. I hate how the writers and producers try to crowbar a song about political unrest in Ireland into a musical number about seducing a love-at-first-sight prostitute.
Moulin Rouge? Hated it. So hated it. It actually makes me mad thinking of how this turd of a movie was actually liked by any percentage of humanity.
Mamma Mia? Love the music, hate the show. Take my Gay card. Please.
Priscilla? When we sat in our 5th row seats (thank you SharkBoy!!), I opened the playbill and scanned the musical numbers and found not one original tune I thought “Kill me now.”
Well. I’m eating crow, it seems.
Last night’s performance of Priscilla was amazing. Yes it was fluff and unoriginal like any derived movie-to-musical but I can honestly say it was as much fun as watching the movie, if not better. The show hit all the great points of the movie; story, character and costumes, and did so in an inventive fresh way. I found myself engrossed in the story as if I was watching the movie for the first time. This was thanks to the cast: each member bringing enough familiarization that makes you connect to the movie, yet adding their own twists to their character to make it fun to rediscover. Most notably is Tony Sheldon, who plays Bernadette (Raaaalph!) completely right angles to Terrence Stamp’s creation. Sheldon’s Bernadette is more like a smart Lucile Ball, a wide eyed Carol Channing compared to Stamp’s subtle yet strong Bernadette. And it works – s/he creates magic with a nod, a glance, a well timed pause.
The show is full of risks, in the metaphorical and physical, and they succeed on every level. I won’t spoil one technical marvel, but I’ve never been that close to a woman’s stiletto heel before in my life. If you thought a falling chandelier was a captivating stage effect, a drag queen on a giant shoe on a bus will decimate that.
Go see it before it leaves Toronto. And I’m not saying this because I’m a homo. It’s just a damn fun show.