Priscilla is undoubtedly Queen of the Desert, and New Plymouth Operatic's production of it is an absolute jewel in their already glittering crown of fantastic productions.

The show is a riot of sequins, sass and sheer fabulousness from start to finish.

"Sometimes, less is more," Bernadette (Cameron Douglas) tells Adam / Felicia (Josh Clarke) at one point in the show. Bernadette may be right, but that advice has been wisely ignored by director and choreographer Stephen Robertson who has put on a show absolutely brimming with kitschtastic energy, fizz and drag queen deliciousness.

From left to right Cameron Douglas (Bernadette), Josh Clarke (Felicia) and Isaac Pawson (Tick) take a ride on
From left to right Cameron Douglas (Bernadette), Josh Clarke (Felicia) and Isaac Pawson (Tick) take a ride on "Priscilla". Photo / Chris Hill

The costumes are outrageously good, hardly a surprise given Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel took home the best costume design Oscar in 1995 for the film version. Their work on the design of the costumes for the stage version make for a spectacular visual delight, especially when teamed with the energetic choreography and clever set design.

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The dance numbers are full of flamboyant energy, and dance captain Alannah Matthews certainly stands out. She dances with her whole being - her smile and eyes command attention whenever she is on stage.

Isaac Pawson, as Tick / Mitzi, is in fine voice all night. From the opening bars of 'It's Raining Men' he sings and dances his way through the show, putting on an emotionally intelligent performance as a father seeking to reconcile with his son.

Some of the later scenes in the show, where Tick and his son Benji sing together, are incredibly moving and George Stephens (Benji) is well cast in the role. (Charlie Betts alternates at other performances).

Another stand-out scene from Tick is his green pyjama-clad rendition of 'MacArthur Park".

18 Year old Josh Clarke (right) and Cameron Douglas in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Photo / Chris Hill.
18 Year old Josh Clarke (right) and Cameron Douglas in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Photo / Chris Hill.

Cameron Douglas plays Bernadette with aplomb. He gives his character a depth I haven't always seen in versions of this musical, with a fragility and an inner sadness that really shines through.

Josh Clarke as Adam / Felicia is the perfect foil for Bernadette and their scenes together come with a chemistry that zings.

As Josh sings "Everything I touch is turning to gold" in True Colours, you realise you are watching a star in the making.

New Plymouth 18 year old local local Josh Clarke starring as Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Photo / Chris Hill
New Plymouth 18 year old local local Josh Clarke starring as Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Photo / Chris Hill

Josh steals the show as the Kylie-loving, hyperkinetic, homoerotic young drag queen who just wants to have fun, and he manages to shine throughout.

He is the star of this show in every way possible. The team at New Plymouth Operatic can rightly be very proud of this young man, who at just 18 is showing talent beyond his years. This talent has been nurtured over the years by NPOS and it has paid off in spades - glittering, sequined ones.

With such a talented trio taking up plenty of stage time, it is testament to the talents of the other performers that they still shine so brightly as well.

(l-r) Anna Rowe, Melissa Peters and Jess Old, the 3
(l-r) Anna Rowe, Melissa Peters and Jess Old, the 3 "Diva's" from Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Photo / Chris Hill

The aerial divas, Jess Old, Melissa Peters and Anna Rowe are gorgeous to watch and listen to, and they play their roles with aplomb.

Ann Stewart is a brilliant comedic actress, perfectly suited to play Shirley. She rightly gets some of the biggest laughs of the night, and I can't imaging anyone being better in the role.

Melinda Joe has a ball (of the ping pong version perhaps) playing Cynthia, and her energy on the stage is incredible.

John Ainsworth as Bob is another example of good casting, and his scenes with Bernadette are well done. Together the pair remind us that love can be found anywhere, and is worth fighting for.

From start to finish, this show is a delight, packed full of fun, fabulous feathered headdresses, creative costumes, toe-tapping jukebox musical numbers and a set of stars shining even brighter than the thousands of sequins we see on stage.

Grab your boas and get on the bus with Priscilla before it sells out. You won't be disappointed, and you will be entertained.