Theatre Mirror Reviews - "PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

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Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Fiddlehead Theatre Company's latest blockbuster musical is "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert", the musical which is by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott adapted from the 1994 movie by the same name. This show consists of blockbuster hit after blockbuster hit. The costumes with sequins for days are fabulous and stunning created by Stacey Stephens. The other main character in this show besides the terrific performers is budget barbie campervan that has been given that nickname of Priscilla. As they head west from Sydney aboard their pink bus, the three friends come to the forefront of a comedy of errors, encountering a number of strange characters, incidents of homophobia while widening comfort zones and finding new horizons. Tick as Mitzi and Adam as Felicia are drag queens and Bernadette who is a transsexual, are doing a favor for Mitzi's ex-wife, Marion and going to perform in Alice Springs, Australia. Marion wants Mitzi who's real name is Ralph (Tick) to meet his eight year old son, Benjamin. The three of them become a trio to perform at the small casino in the desert, Outback owned by Marion. Along the way, they run into discrimination and many trials but eventually realize that after this gig and Benjamin's acceptance of his father, that the group must remain together. Directors Stacey Stephens picks outstanding performers for these wild and crazy roles. He infuses this show with the high energy and stylized performances it needs, creating a musical masterpiece in the heart of Boston at the Shubert Theatre. This very funny and poignant musical wins a well deserved standing ovation at the end of the night.

Stacey and producer Meg Fofonoff spare no expense with the productions values of this Broadway caliber musical. The sets, costumes, lighting and make up are phenomenal. The make up by Joe Dulude is fantastic.The multitude of songs are by Tina Turner, the Village People, Madonna, Elvis, Cyndi Lauper, Dionne Warwick, John Denver, Gloria Gaynor and are brilliantly performed. Music director, Jose Simbulan conducts an 11 piece orchestra while choreographer Arthur Cuadros' dance numbers are breathtaking and perfectly executed by this multitalented cast. Tall, dark and handsome Andrew Giordano leads the cast as Tick. He is marvelous in this role delivering both comic and poignant moments along the way especially moving is the scene with his young son. Some of his numbers include the poignant "I Say a Little Prayer" where he's thinking about his young son, "True Colors" and the tear jerking "Always on My Mind" with Benji which leaves not a dry eye in the house. Andrew's funniest number is "MacArthur Park" when he finds a green cake in the rain which won him a multitude of laughter. Matthew Tiberi is a triple threat performer as Felicia. His vocals are perfect especially his strong falsetto voice, his phenomenal dancing skills and his dynamic acting prowess stun the crowd. He makes a gangbusters entrance with "Venus" while singing and dancing up a storm with the male dancers who look they were chiseled out of stone especially Valton Jackson and Alec Varcas. (Alec majored in business for three years at Quinnipiac in CT but now is an equity actor) His singing numbers include "Go West" which turns into a village people dance, "Color My World" which turns into a painting of the bus dance and the brilliantly poignant "Confide in Me." One of the most dramatic moments comes right after the fun filled number "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" with the Divas, when he is beaten up by a red neck at a local bar. Excellently portrayed and I look forward to seeing Matthew in many future shows. One of outstanding performers is Larry Dagget as Bernadette who steals many a scene with his multilayered performance. He is both charming and sweet but also toughs as nails when he defends his friend, Adam in a powerful moment in the show. Larry is like Bea Arthur on "Maude" with his sarcastic and biting one liners that mesmerize the audience. His fantastic numbers include "Don't Leave Me This Way" when his boyfriend passes away, the funny "Go West", "A Fine Romance" and "Hot Stuff" with Matthew and the Divas. His most dramatic scene occurs when he and their rescuer Bob unite in a touching moment that is emotion packed. Bravo on three fabulous male leads of this show.

Val Moranto as Marion delivers the goods in this role as she finally unites father and son at last. She is also a hoot as tough as nail lesbian, Shirley in "I Love the Nightlife" scene. Bob Knapp is terrific as the sympathetic Bob who eventually falls in love with Bernadette. He gives a heartfelt performance and displays his singing voice in "A Fine Romance." Cameron Levesque who is only 9 years old is very poignant and excellent as Benji. His scenes with Andrew crackle with intensity. He has a very bright future in show business. His singing voice is splendid when he and Andrew sing "Always on My Mind" which elicits many tears from the appreciative audience. The electrifying and splendid vocalists, Tamala Baldwin, Lindsay Roberts and Onyie Nwachukwu as the Divas knock your socks off with hit after hit song in the sequined gowns and feather boas. Some of their numbers include "It's Raining Men", "I Say A Little Prayer", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "I Will Survive." Kudos to the entire cast and crew a job very well done. So for a high energy, magnificent musical extravaganza be sure to catch "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" at the Shubert Theatre in Boston before Priscilla the bus drives out of the city for good. Tell them Tony sent you.

PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (30 September to 9 October)
Fiddlehead Theatre Company @ Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
1(866)348-9738 or

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