Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Respect La Diva the Musical: Theatre Review

Respect La Diva premiered at the Garrick Theatre on the 7thSeptember with a press night following the night after; I was fortunate enough to be at this night however I can only feel that the show is still unfinished and needs a lot of work.
The show will embark on a UK Tour after its limited engagement at the Garrick of three weeks and I'm hoping for the sake of mankind, that they re-rehearse the whole show.
The show comes from the creators of Thriller! Live, and is a tribute to the Divas past and present, featuring the work of Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Dianne Ross and many other female Legends. But, I feel the poor narrative and unexciting presenting from Andy Abraham overshadowed the work of these fabulous women. What I couldn't get my head around was why Andy Abraham was even part of the show, his presenting skills were horrific and didn't flow and he also had a few songs, did it turn into the Andy Abraham show with a few women singing songs in between? At points, it seemed like it.
There was also a story of a sound technician wanting to be in the show.... Please producers, if you're reading this, cut it out before it's too late.

I expected the show to be just the four lead singers to be singing classic songs with maybe a few dance routines. How I was wrong! Each song was made into a story, with random props and pieces of set, not to mention the terrible costume designs (The Costume designer needs to be shot). At one point it started to rain and then went into a song that didn't even mention any form of weather, and a random lamp post with a tramp below it in Empire State of Mind, was that appropriate? No.
Out of the 5 backup dancers's one was up to the standard they should have been on a press night. All out of time with each other, some not having the ability to even do the required moves, they seemed under rehearsed and all over the place. The three backing singers had great voices and I was pleasantly surprised when they got their own song, but I couldn't stop looking at the terrible costumes they had been put it, each looked like a glittery tent.
The talent of the girls, however, was phenomenal. Sheila Ferguson had the Diva qualities she needed, Denise Pearson had fantastic stage presence, Katy Setterfield was divine and Zoe Birkett reflected the modern type of Diva wonderfully however I do feel Zoe was under used as she had one of the stronger voices in the show.
I would love to say the talent of these four women overshadowed the negatives I found in the show, but unfortunately it didn't. The show was far too busy when it didn't need to be and the songs were all given to the wrong people.
The highlight of the show for me was Listen, Denise Pearson's average rendition of the song didn't matter because it was the ONLY song that was just the Singer and microphone with raw passion and was a true tribute to the stars.
Overall I felt the show was too much, if the Divas being paid 'tribute' too had seen this show I think they may ask that their songs and names not be featured in the show. If you are a lover of the music in this show and appreciate good theatre, please save your money and time and don't go near the Garrick within the next three weeks. If you're up for a good night and don't care about the shows quality, by all means go ahead and get tickets.
Oh and Nimax Theatres, you might want to double check the programmes before you send them to print, Number of mistakes in it including spelling errors and Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer talking about the wrong show on the back page. Woops.

Rating: *

Respect La Diva runs at the Garrick Theatre until 24thSeptember and then embarks on a UK Tour

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