With London still heaving with Olympic tourists it is wholly understandable that central venues such as the Arts, maximise their potential by running multiple shows. Running in this late slot Drag Divas, has the potential to provide an entertaining postscript to an evening out in the West End with its promise top musical talent impersonating some of the greatest musical divas of our time.
A scene from Drag Divas at the Arts Theatre, London Photo: Pawel Spolnicki
Sadly Drag Divas turns out to be little more than a pub-night diversion given the dubious benefit of a much larger stage. A decidedly unglamorous smoke machine and red glitter curtain provide a back-drop to the performers, while Scott Bishop and Ashley Martin throw themselves around the stage in hot-pants to Lewis Butler’s random choreography.
The acts themselves perform a wide selection of popular musical numbers and there are one or two fun surprises such as Anthony Poore’s hilarious take on Victoria Beckham in a Spice Girls routine and compere John Moore’s Bassey pastiche with a never-ending boa.
Rob Tucker brings something of the diva to his interpretations of Aretha Franklin and Etta James whilst Leo Loren’s Amy Winehouse singing audience favourites Back to Black and Valerie is quite uncanny. The evening, however, belongs to Chris Dennis, whose well observed Liza Minnelli gives some indication of the energy, invention and value otherwise lacking from much of the rest of a show where, to be frank the balance of satire over tribute is way off.