Mixed reviews for Priscilla

There are some poor reviews coming out of New York after the Australian musical Priscilla opened on Broadway.

There are some poor reviews coming out of New York after the Australian musical Priscilla opened on Broadway.

It is mammoth albeit it overlooked news for Australia – the fact that a homegrown musical has made it to theatre’s biggest city is a rare and honourable achievement.

Whilst initial reports were positive, some early reviews are not flattering.

In the New York Daily News, Joe Dziemianowicz said the show had a “thin plot”.

“As is, Priscilla, adapted by Elliott and Allan Scott, is another movie plopped onto the stage without developing the plot or relationships. Energy was spent on finding ways to blast confetti and Ping-Pong balls, and to ensure audience participation. But those tricks, along with crass one-liners, a trio of gravity-defying girl goddesses and a tricked-out bus can’t keep you from noticing what’s missing,” Dziemianowicz said.

He added: “Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner (who won an Oscar for their work in the film) share credit for the real star attraction: the 500 costumes. At their best, the clothes are truly awesome. At their worst, they are dehumanizing. Throughout Priscilla the three leads don’t look male or female but like bizarre aliens. Call me a party pooper, but that was enough to make this supposed frolic a drag.”

In the influentual New York Times, Charles Isherwood said: “But while it is performed with gleaming verve and infusions of bawdy humor — Tony Sheldon, who has been with the show from its Australian debut, is particularly winning as the gracious-lady transsexual Bernadette — Priscilla feels monotonous and mechanical. It lacks the narrative complexity of La Cage (egad, did I just write those words?) and isn’t as impishly clever as guilty-pleasure indulgences like Mamma Mia! and Xanadu, similarly ditzy musicals inviting audiences to take a mindless boogie down memory lane.”

Some reviews have been better, however, including The Chicago Tribune.

The reviews are likely to be a concern for producers, who need a positive reaction from critics to ensure a long run.

That said, the show opened in Sydney and London to less than wonderful reviews, and survived strongly in both cities.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *