Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Priscilla Is a Hit in New York (but not with the NY Times)

New York Social Diary
Priscilla Queen of The Desert has opened in New York with the following revues :

Manhattan's leading society bible New York Social Diary : "....the energy of the cast, the entire ensemble is unstoppable. You don’t even want an intermission; you just want them to keep going, like never leaving the dance floor. And when it was over, the audience was screaming, whistling, whooping, yelling, and of course, applauding "
 New York Magazine : "a well-above-average drag show with the pink afterimage of a plot, and three superbly sincere leads who fleetingly convince us we’re seeing an actual musical with a real emotional arc. This being drag, the illusion is enough." Swenson, "chief sustainer of this illusion," is characterized by Brown as "disciplined."
The New York Post : "it may look a bit ramshackle at times, but 'Priscilla' has a big, joyous heart."
The Salt Lake Tribune : "The stage version is a jukebox musical, loaded with disco classics (it opens with "It's Raining Men," and "I Will Survive" ends Act One) and wild costumes designed by the team -- Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner -- who won an Oscar for the movie's outlandish clothes."
Not so happy was the New York Times : " the "hyperactively splashy show wants so desperately to give audiences a gaudy good time that the results are oddly enervating."

The stage version of Priscilla has completely revived the fortunes of it's writer and the director of the 1994 movie Stephan Elliot.

Elliot's first film Frauds with Phil Collins and Hugo Weaving received praise at the '93 Cannes Film Festival.

He then teamed up with Fraud's producer, the Penfold's Wine heiress Rebel Penfold Russell and they  struck gold with Elliot's original story of Priscilla, the tale about 3 drag queens travelling in a bus to Alice Springs.

 Riding high on the Academy Award 's success for the film he was offered dozens of projects including  a James Bond film. Elliot found Hollywood hard to take and retreated to London 

Taylor in Woop Woop
  He returned to Australia and filmed the odd Welcome To Woop Woop with legendary actor Rod Taylor which was panned in his home country but praised again at Cannes. Woop Woop was inspired by Taylor's performance in the 1960 film The Time Machine.

 A thriller- Eye of The Beholder with Ashley Judd and Ewen McGregor was a financial success although critics hated it.

Elliot & Olivia at Tropfest
And just as he was to begin working on a film based on the failed nuptials in Venice between Qantas trolly dolly Prince Lorenzo Montesini and Melbourne heiress Primrose 'Pitty Pat' Dunlop ( Lorenzo eloped with the best man and left the bride at the altar) Elliot had a skiing accident which put him out of action for 6 years until his 2008 production Easy Virtue with Colin Firth brought success again.

With royalties flowing in from the stage version of Priscilla which is still playing in London's West End, Stephan Elliot is now able to choose his own projects.

Stephan  is currently in Sydney filming another story he has written-A Few Best Men with Olivia Newton John, English actor Kris Marshall and 'Twighlight' star Xavier Samuel due for release next year.