O COME ALL YE DIVAS, 4Star****, London, To 07 01

4Stars ****

Charing Cross Theatre, The Arches, Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NL to 7 January 2017.
Tues-Sat 7.30pm No performances 25-27 December & 2-3 January.
Runs 2hr 15 mins One interval.

TICKETS: 08444 930650.

Where to have a merry little Christmas
Christmas shows like Christmas stockings come in all shapes and sizes and this particular one consists of a pint sized diva doing divas of song – none of whom survive the treatment. Christina Bianco delivers the goods with spot on impersonations of the great ladies of the musical stage and popular song not always singing the songs we are accustomed to hear them sing.

She can also do a nifty Edwina and Patsy and opens the second half with a lethal rendering of that number about what happened to the gifts delivered on the 12 days of Christmas.

A veteran of Forbidden Broadway she knows how to handle an audience and managed to cope the night I saw it with a crazed or possibly intoxicated fan at the front who kept interrupting. The lady was escorted out at the interval without a fuss.
She destroys Bernadette Peters, does a nifty Judy – a rather inevitable inclusion on the no show without Punch theory – and a devastating Liza, a stentorian Shirley Bassey, a howling Kate Bush , a baby doll Kylie and very peculiar baritone Cher, while her Julie Andrews rendering a Hawaiian song with an unpronounceable title has to he heard to be believed.

The Christmas gimmick is to toss crackers in to the audience, half of which contain songs, the other half names of singers and then get people to pull them at random resulting in extremely odd couplings. She and her accompanist, a lanky Joe Louis Robinson, as long as she is short, cope with aplomb. It may be lots of practice, – they obviously do it without crackers at other seasons – but clearly there is a rapport between them that is astonishing – no idea whether that boy can foxtrot but he sure can handle a grand piano – and they get admirable support from the three boys in the band – they’re behind them naturally.

Any quibbles? No Ethel, no Petula. Otherwise everyone you can think of turns up at some point – even Bjork and Elaine Paige. As for Christina’s frocks – divas and drag queens will be green with envy.

Christina Bianco.

Musical Director: Joe Louis Robinson.
Production Design: Neal Gray.
Lighting Design: Chris Randall.
Sound Design: Andrew Johnson.

2016-12-21 12:42:15

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