Diva: live from hell. Book by Nora Brigid Monahan, music & lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen. The Turbine Theatre, Nine Elms, Battersea SW 11 to 3 September 2022. 5*****. William Russell

Let me make clear at the start those stars are for Luke Bayer who gives one of those throwing everything he has at the audience born in a trunk performances as Desmond Channing, president of the Ronald Reagan Drama Club in his local high school in Florida. When new boy from Manhattan Evan Harris turns up and steals his thunder, not to mention his part in The Pirates of Penzance, and his presidency Desmond goes berserk. Had Bayer, who can sing, tap dance, and scrubs up well when not being terribly camp, added a couple of cart wheels, a back flip and the splits for good measure one would not have been surprised. It is a terrific high octane performance although it is to be hoped he can do more than play camp as at times he reveals a fine voice lies behind his admirable falsetto.

We meet Desmond in the Seventh Circle Cabaret Club in Hell preparing to entertain the fiendishes masses, but first he tells us how he got there.

The show itself is funny, has neat lyrics and adept tunes but it is really about Broadway divas and American high schools and here is a bit of a fish out of water although at 75 minutes it does not outstay its welcome. At least Oyen and Monahan know how far they can stretch their material and director Joe McNeice has found plenty for Bayer to do.

There is also a rather good three piece band under musical director Debbi Clarke to keep things swinging along.

Luke Bayer: Desmond Channing.

Jordan Walker: Understudy.

Diector & Designer: Joe McNeice.

Musical Director: Debbie Clarke.

Choreographer: Anna Hale.

Lighting Designer: Alistair Lindsay.

Production Photography: Harry Elletson.

ReviewsGate Copyright Protection