In their final show of 2018, Prada’s Priscillas delivered a thrill-a-minute tour de force in drag artistry with a stocking full of tongue in cheek Christmas merriment to boot. Performing at Kingsford Leagues Club to a sold-out audience comprised of people from various generations and backgrounds – Prada’s Priscillas All Male Christmas Revue was a testament to how powerful drag can be at uniting people from all walks of life.
Headlined by Prada Clutch, Sydney’s premier live-singing drag illusionist, the revue featured pitch perfect live performances, meticulously crafted costumes inspired by classic drag iconography and stunning showgirl numbers featuring magnetic supporting queens Conchita Grande and Charlamaine. Choreographed by Stephen Clarke, who has worked with industry legends including the Minogue sisters, Cyndi Lauper and Diana Ross, Prada’s Priscillas features a stellar line-up of dancers who consistently awed their audience and elevated the show with a number of highly technical performances.
A key component of the revue’s success is Prada’s prowess as an MC and her ability to integrate her audience into the show. A skit which saw several audience members hand-picked to perform on stage could have been squeamish in lesser hands but was made a jubilant highlight due to her charisma, quick wit and improvisational skills. This direct engagement of her audience fostered a sense of connectedness between the audience and the performers on-stage which lasted throughout the 90-minute show.
The show journeys through a number of classic periods in Australian drag history, beginning with an homage to Les Girls, the trailblazing 1960s drag ensemble from Kings Cross who paved the way for Sydney’s burgeoning drag scene. Former member of Les Girls, Monique Kelly is the creative director of Prada’s Priscillas and her influence can be felt in the show’s opulent costumes which include extravagant feathered ensembles and glitzy gowns dripping in rhinestones.
The revue then ventured into the Australian outback where Prada Clutch’s vocal talent takes centre stage in a captivating tribute to Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Featuring an energetic medley of crowd favourites like Cece Peniston’s ‘Finally’ and Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ and backed by spirited performances from her dancers and fellow queens, this was a true highpoint.
The final portion of the show diverted from an exploration of Australian drag history and dives headfirst into a camp Christmas extravaganza. Featuring giant candy cane props, a surprisingly tender solo performance of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and a frenzied medley of Christmas classics including ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ and ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’, Prada’s audience was left punch-drunk on Christmas cheer.
Other highlights included Prada’s uncanny impersonations of divas, including Cher and Celine Dion, which had her audience in stitches, a spot-on lip sync of Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ by Conchita Grande to which one audience member remarked ‘better than the real thing’ and a captivating rendition of Barbra Streisand’s off-beat ‘Jingle Bells’ by Charlamaine.
Christmas Revue is that rare type of show that is able to create a sense of collective joy, indiscriminately leaving the spectator in higher spirits than they had been earlier in the day. In a period that some may call the golden age of drag, Prada and her Priscillas stand out from the crowd as one of the most captivating acts on the scene.