The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert Review

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In an effort to escape a life of unappreciation, Mitzi/Tick enlists two other fellow escapees/showgirls to form a travelling show that offers to wow the unsuspecting Aussie Outback inhabitants.

★★★★★

Priscilla is not the heroine of a Rider Haggard adventure but the pink bus in which a trio of female impersonators from Sydney make their eventful, fraught and heavily rouged way across Oz's red desert to a cabaret engagement in Alice Springs. And a wild ride it proves to be, in this tuneful, camp odyssey notable for its performances - including a sensational one from Terence Stamp as transsexual Bernadette-formerly Ralph - and delirious design excess.

Mitzi/Tick (Weaving, both touching and ugly as sin) is an unappreciated artist nursing a secret and in need of a change of scene. He/she organises the remote booking and enlists Felicia/Adam (Pearce binning his Neighbours hearthrob image as the petulant, reckless one) and old friend Bernadette, recently widowed and depressed, to make up the miming "showgirl" act. And so they set off with hearts full of hope to outrage, bewilder, seduce or provoke a variety of outback provincials and aborigines in a string of fantastically frocked mini-dramas.

Writer-director Stephan Elliott's film is not always as funny as it thinks it is, and the mix of musical road comedy with more low-key insights into the cross-dressing life doesn't entirely come off either. Stamp, though, is especially successful, twisting from wistful to hideous to charming, ever sardonic and always ladylike. Those who find men in feathers inherently divine will have a high old time here, and there are enough hilarious cinematic moments for the gob-smacked rest.

Those who find men in feathers inherently divine will have a high old time here, and there are enough hilarious cinematic moments for the gob-smacked rest.