Thursday, July 18

Priscilla the Party! – Here at Outernet

Immersive theatre is all the rage in 2024. From Guys and Dolls to Mamma Mia! plenty of stories are returning to the stage with an up-close-and-personal twist. At London’s HERE at Outernet, it’s Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’s turn to get in on the immersive fun with Priscilla The Party! 

Until the end of September, Priscilla The Party! is transforming HERE at Outernet into the sparkling, disco ball-covered Cockatoo Club, where audiences are brought right into the iconic story of acceptance and self-empowerment. Seated tickets are available, but those who have a standing ticket (like I did) watch the show from the dancefloor, where parts of the stage move, and actors sometimes weave through the crowd.

The party starts before the show even begins, with a series of cabaret performers taking to a small platform in the centre of the room to sing for the audience as they grab their drinks and make their way to the dancefloor. It’s the perfect way to set the tone for Priscilla The Party! — glossy and glitzy entertainment that you can’t resist singing and dancing along to.

Kicking off the show is our nightclub host for the evening, Gaye Cliché (the delightful Trevor Ashley), who explains the ground rules for those standing on the dancefloor and introduces us to the story. Acting as an MC throughout the show, Ashley is an absolute hoot, perfectly blending old-school humour with new-school cultural references to steer the story with aplomb.

As for the story, it’s one that’s been told through an Oscar-winning film and an Olivier-winning musical: two drag queens and a transgender woman travel to a remote part of Australia in a beaten-up van (the van being named Priscilla, naturally) to perform the drag show of a lifetime.   

Along their road trip, Tick (Owain Williams), Adam (Reece Kerridge), and Bernadette (Dakota Starr) navigate their own struggles as well as instances of homophobia, but they come together to promote inclusivity and the power of friendship wherever they go.

Priscilla The Party! includes musical highlights from the original stage show, such as the triumphant ‘I Will Survive’ and campy ‘Go West’, while also adding in newer anthems like Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’. Accompanied by a cast of brilliant dancers in enough dazzling costume changes to make Elton John envious, every musical number is exuberant and a sheer delight to watch — and dance to.

The three central characters are given plenty of heart and soul by their respective actors, with Starr as the vulnerable and fiercely protective Bernadette, Kerridge as the ambitious and energetic Adam, and Williams as the passionately loyal Tick.

Graphics on HERE at Outernet’s dazzling LED screen replace much of the set, giving the performers more space to dance and create the party atmosphere. The biggest set piece is of course the moving platform, which is utilised brilliantly throughout the show to convey location and create a truly immersive spectacle.

Some of the humour in the show can feel a touch dated at times, but there are also some wonderfully modern elements used in Priscilla The Party! such as a drag king DJing on the dancefloor for revellers who wanted to keep on boogying after the show finished. Without spoiling anything, there’s also a hilarious bit of audience participation in the finale that totally encapsulates the show’s tongue-in-cheek storytelling style.

An extremely fun celebration of acceptance, friendship, and love, Priscilla The Party! is a high-octane, high-camp show I’d happily attend every week as a regular night out. I challenge anyone to leave the theatre without a smile on their face — or a song stuck in their head!

https://www.priscillatheparty.com/

Reviewer: Olivia Cox

Reviewed: 24th March 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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