Friday, April 29, 2022



Written by Stephen Elliott and Allan Scott

Directed by Jarrad West

Free Rain Theatre

The Q Theatre, Queanbeyan to 22 May


Reviewed by Len Power 28 April 2022


A surprise movie hit in 1994, ‘The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of the Desert’ became a successful jukebox Australian and international stage musical in 2006.

Two drag queens and a trans woman travel from Sydney in a bus to Alice Springs where they are contracted to perform in a drag show at a resort.  Along the way, they encounter prejudice from various colourful Australian characters but also gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their place in the world.

Jarrod West gives a heart-felt performance as Bernadette, especially in the character’s serious moments.  Joe Dinn as drag queen Tick (or Mitzi), brings a lot of depth to his role and is a fine singer.  Garrett Kelly as the other drag queen, Adam (or Felicia), convinces as a bitchy, irresponsible but ultimately caring young man still learning about himself.

Joe Dinn (Tick/Mitzi), Jarrod West (Bernadette) and Garrett Kelly (Adam/Felicia)

The three Divas, Janie Lawson, Hannah Lance and Chelsea Haney are all great singers and have a lot of fun with their Greek chorus-type roles.

Pat Gallagher as Bob, the mechanic who helps the ‘girls’ when their bus breaks down and then forms a growing attachment to Bernadette, gives a perfectly judged laconic performance of great depth.  On opening night, young Zavier Martin was very believable as Tick’s son, Benji.  His duet with his father late in the show was one of the highlights.

Amongst other highlights, Dave Collins brings confidence and sass to club drag queen, Miss Understanding, Jessica Marshall is hysterically funny as the ping pong ball popping Filipino, Cynthia and Don Christopher delights as Jimmy, the worldly Aboriginal man pandering to tourists.  Steph Maclaine as the opera soloist sings a fine Sempre Libra.  The rest of the enthusiastic and energetic cast are clearly having a great time.

Musical director, Alexander Unikowski has done excellent work with the music. Michelle Heine’s choreography suits the skill levels of the performers and lighting and sound designs give the show the right ambience.

Costume designer, Fiona Leech has done an amazing job with dozens of quirky costumes, many of them seen only fleetingly.  The set design by R James Entertainment was problematic.  While the bus worked fine, the stairs and the bridge took up a lot of stage space and seemed under-utilized for such a large set piece.

The musical is, unfortunately, starting to show its age.  It’s close to 30 years since the movie was written and there is now a greater understanding and acceptance of members of the LGBTQ+ community.  Many attitudes displayed by characters in the musical now seem, thankfully, rather dated.

Nevertheless, director, Jarrad West and his cast and crew have given us a rollicking night of tuneful, colourful and wicked fun in the theatre.


Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at