The Priscilla’s Experience

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The Priscilla's Experience
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Photograph: Sophie Hill
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Photograph: Sophie Hill
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Photograph: Sophie Hill
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Photograph: Sophie Hill
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Photograph: Sophie Hill

Time Out says

The Imperial’s queens are putting on a nostalgic drag ‘n’ dine spectacular

Hold on to your boa babe! The queens at the Imperial Hotel are putting on a flashy new dinner and show experience packed with enough campness, nostalgia and colourful feathers to help us forget about the perils of 2020. We popped on some classy duds and ventured out to the opening weekend of The Priscilla’s Experience to see how this two-ish hour drag degustation extravaganza stacks up.

If you’re there for the drag, you’ll get more than you bargained for. With six performers and a guest host interchanging between almost non-stop numbers all night, you barely have time to look down at your plate and get a forkful of food before another drag queen pops up. After spending months in lockdown, the performers’ excitement at being back on stage is palpable. 

If you’re there for the food and bevvies, you’ll also be satisfied. The special cocktail served on arrival, aptly named the Priscilla, is a not-too-sweet fruity concoction topped with pink peppercorns. For the three-course dinner, you can choose from a number of options on the vegan-friendly menu that features some of the greatest hits from the Imperial’s restaurant, which prides itself on bringing the humble veggie out of the closet and into the spotlight, as well as chicken, beef and fish options to satisfy carnivorous types. The cashew and mushroom paté is a stand-out amongst the starters; and the chilli chocolate brownie is truly the queen of the de(s)sert (menu), packing a punch into your final course. With socially distanced dining in place, the restaurant team make sure you're well taken care of.

“We’ve taken everything people love about the Imperial and made it even better,” show producer Oliver Levi-Malouf (also known as drag performer extraordinaire Etcetera Etcetera) says. The team has spent two months choreographing, costuming and assembling this evening of entertainment as a farewell to iso-life. “We tried to squeeze the history and magic of Australian drag into one show – and we're so excited to share that with audiences. Six drag queens on one stage? How good is that!”

Don’t come to this experience expecting a clean cut tribute to The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The Priscilla’s Experience pays tribute to the venue’s history – you must have been living under a rock (in a frock) if you didn’t already know the Impy appears in the smash-hit 1994 film – however the inspiration is loose, incorporating lip-synchs and popular songs from the film. Which is great, because we’ve all seen the movie (and hopefully the musical too) before. The numbers in this show go down tangents, imagining the contemporary songs that the original Priscilla crew would be shaking their groove things to now. 

Impy regulars will be surprised and pleased to see Kalin Eade performing amongst the queens. The show’s choreographer, regularly seen dancing in the club basement and on the bar top, this gentle butch steals the show with cheeky boylesque and intense routines – quite a feat as the only performer not wearing full drag. A special mention must also go to Ruby Slippers, who not only performs in the Priscilla’s Experience, but also sewed more than 20 costumes to bring this show to life. 

Impy regulars will recognise other performers on the bill including Dammit Janet, Etcetera Etcetera, Peach Fuzz, Dorreen Manganini, Farren Heit, Riot and others.

The Priscilla’s Experience runs every weekend until September, with two dinner sittings on Friday and Saturday nights (6.30pm and 8.30pm) and lunch and supper sessions on Sundays (2pm and 6pm).  The ticket price ($100) includes three-course dinner and cocktail on arrival. Come on girls, don’t dawdle, book here.

Need more fancy drag dinners in your life? Over on Oxford Street, a nightclub has transformed into an immersive dining experience.


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