Taking on Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as an amateur production one imagines poses a choice. Strip back the elaborate West End staging and focus on the music or just go for it. West Wickham Operatic Society takes the latter approach with its latest production and succeeds magnificently.
All the required elements from the original are in place: Flying ‘Supremes’ style trio – check; light-up full scale bus – check; sky-high platform shoes with stretched flares – check, outlandish moulded foam wigs – check; giant shoe on top of bus – check. Fortunately all these production values are matched with pitch-perfect performances by a cast really allowing their camp side to shine through.
Cory Wordlaw sets the tone as he introduces the cabaret in flamboyant style. Leading from the front the trio of Bernadette, Tick and Adam are brought to life as real characters with depth and emotion by Adrian Smith, Adrian Morrissey and Thomas Fitzgerald. Bernadette has perhaps the most complex character and her journey through the show is no less challenging than the physical road trip and that of Tick who has to learn to accept what fatherhood means. Adrian Smith brings huge warmth and sympathy to the part as Bernadette falls for Bob, an ideal role for Kevin Gauntlett, who also directs.
It’s difficult to see how an amateur production can be better than this.