Divine Divas

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

31/10/2009 - 31/10/2009

Opera House, Wellington

01/11/2009 - 01/11/2009

Production Details

A high-class, spectacular theatrical experience and definitely NOT a DRAG!


THE INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED DIVINE DIVAS – the hot new all-star celebrity female impersonation show – featuring the talents of some of Australia’s and the world’s brightest and most talented female impersonators announce three fabulous nights of fun in New Zealand.

The All-star Diva Experience is not to be missed this October and November in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. These talented stars will amaze you with their dazzling performances, spectacular costumes and all-star Celebrity tributes to the greatest Divas in history.

In the tradition of impersonation shows like La Cage au Folles, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Dame Edna Everage, DIVINE DIVAS pays tribute to some of the greatest Divas in history like Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Cher, Dolly Parton, Madonna, Pink, Janet Jackson and Kylie Minogue just to name a few. It’s a ‘Night of Nights’ with all your favourite stars coming together in one incredible evening of entertainment.

Divine Divas are amazing and you will truly be astonished at how beautiful these boys are! They are truly Un-Boy-lievable!

From humble beginnings and club shows around Australia, Tina Sparkelle has brought together some of Australia’s hottest boys to become even hotter Showgirls! Creating Divine Divas has been no easy task and two years in the making, with auditions and selections from every state of Australia.  Tina has been to every club, pub, floorshow and cabaret venue to handpick what she calls the ‘Best of the Best’.

Breathtaking transformations from male to female, takes a lot of effort and can be an exhausting experience Tina says.  We will let you be the judge!  With sequin gowns, feathers and amazing wigs and jewellery you’re definitely in for a Divine Diva Experience.

These boys certainly know the art of ‘Gender Illusion’ and will have you running out to get your hands on some Botox and Bling before the night is over.

Divine Divas "It’s flashy, dazzling and very, very exciting! Don’t Miss Divine Divas for the hottest Diva Experience of a lifetime! All the hottest Stars on Stage together for the concert experience of a Lifetime!

"Divine Divas is a spectacular ‘Las Vegas’ style Show without the airfare!"

The Divine Diva’s deliver a captivating performance, celebrating the WORLDS BEST Divas of pop rock and music history in a grand stage spectacular. Featuring amazing replica costumes, famous routines, crowd interaction and fabulously mimed songs together with  some great  humour by Australia’s top female impersonator compare Anita Beer’.

Guaranteed to be a spectacular night’s entertainment for all ages, this sensational blend of shimmering sequins, feathers, glitz and glamour will have audiences dancing and singing all night long.

Divine Divas is a High Class Spectacular Theatrical experience and is Definitely NOT a DRAG !

Saturday, October 31
ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre
Queen Street, Auckland
Bookings: The Edge www.the-edge.co.nz 
(09) 357 3355 or 0800 BUY TICKETS
(0800 289 842)

Sunday, November 1
Opera House, 111 – 113 Manners Street
Te Aro 6011, Wellington
(04) 802 4060
Bookings: Ticketek www.ticketek.co.nz 
(04) 3843840

Tuesday, November 3
James Hay Theatre
86 Kilmore Street, Christchurch Central
(03) 366 8899
Bookings: Ticketek www.ticketek.co.nz
(03) 377 8899

Sequins and feathers can only do so much

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 01st Nov 2009

Divine Divas delivers more sequins and feathers than all the other International shows to reach New Zealand this year combined, but for Promoter Mario Maiolo to claim in his August press release that his "all-star Celebrity tributes to the greatest Divas in history … [will] amaze…In the tradition of impersonation shows like La Cage au Folles, Priscilla Queen of the Desert …[with] a High Class Spectacular Theatrical experience" is overstated. 

I appreciate and enjoy this lush and extravagant style of entertainment, but there is simply not enough to celebrate in Divine Divas.

While there are two absolute stand out performances – Wayne Heaton from Sydney impersonating Cher and Owen Moss from Malaysia impersonating Tina Turner – both supported by the 10 person ensemble performing at their best, overall the show is too long, very uneven and includes cheap tacky production elements that compel me to say that comparing this show in publicity material to La Cage and Priscilla (both shows with layers of sophistication, heart & charm), is misleading.

Divine Divas is performed by 10 drag queens. For the uninitiated, Wikipedia states: "A drag queen is a person, usually a man, who dresses, and usually acts, like a woman, often for the purpose of entertaining or performing. Although many drag queens are presumed to be gay men or transgender people, there are drag artists of all genders and sexualities who do drag for various reasons. Generally, drag queens dress as a female, often exaggerating certain characteristics (such as make-up and eyelashes) for comic, dramatic or satirical effect. The term drag queen usually refers to people who dress in drag for the purpose of performing, whether singing or lip-synching, dancing, participating … at venues such as cabarets and discos."

During interval, my friend and I overheard some members of the audience express surprise and disappointment that all the songs were lip-synched, as they thought a show that claims to honour and pay tribute to iconic singers, would involve at least some live singing. I think that is a fair point and that publicity should’ve let that cat out of the bag, so expectations were realistic.

Also, many Divas did not perfect every phrase, every breath, every nuance of the song, so to further disappoint many, the lip-synching is not always convincing, especially for those (like us) who were near the front.  We moved to the back of the stalls at interval, which improved our experience.

Several times in the first half I became distracted by this under-rehearsed-out-of-synch problem. What swiftly follows, is detachment and loss of engagement in the performance. Unless it’s done incredibly well and with heart and connection, it introduces a layer of removal to the point that there is no communication between audience and performer. When you don’t care, what’s the point? Sequins and feathers can only do so much.

The antithesis of the above is Owen Moss’ Tina Turner. Quite apart from being perfectly synched and having fabulous legs, she gives a passionate real portrayal of the original artist’s moves and charisma by communicating a sense of Tina’s spirit and personality. As a result, we are moved, inspired, engaged and we care.

Many of the slow ballads, performed by a lonely Diva on an open empty stage, with no support performers, patchy lip-synching and looped footage of the original artist on the projection screen, left me disengaged. It was sad to see some Divas upstaged by the projection screen, especially during the more obscure unfamiliar songs where many in the audience had no shared experience or associated memory with the song.

Another gripe I had with these medleys of slow ballads, is they go on far too long – with a 10:30pm finish, the director could easily shave 20 minutes from the slow sections of the show, and deliver a better overall experience to the audience as a result.

The pace and energy of the second half is a welcome change of gear. Inevitably, the upbeat well-known songs and singers, performed with the full cast on stage, are the most popular and successful items.

The best ensemble performance, and in a league of its own, is Wayne Heaton’s Cher: she looks amazing and leading the whole cast on stage, all elements come together: song, costuming, cheek, dare, choreography and energy. If the whole evening had this level of execution, it would be a fab night out.  

The unstoppable stars of all the ensemble numbers are the two hard working male dancers (Sorry, I couldn’t find their names in the programme…) Totally talented, gorgeous to look at and engaging to watch, they steal the show on more than one occasion. It is easy to see why they do not have an ounce of fat on their washboard stomachs and perfectly formed figures.

Todd Patrick (Dancer Choreographer and Artistic Director) showcases some of his best work when he frames the lead Diva with these two fine men, For example, Madonna (Dean Powell from Perth) showcases an excellent strut and great connected moves between dancers and diva.

The evening is hosted by Anita Beer (Michael Turner), who has the difficult job of warming up the audience after the most lame pre recorded audio-visual commercial / corporate introduction I’ve ever experienced at a show. She looks fabulous and does her absolute best with her naughty banter and wit, but some of the expected lowbrow jokes are old, tired and predictable. An annoying reoccurring gaff in the direction (Warren Gooch), is the double introductions of several artists: the first from Miss Anita, followed directly by a pre recorded voice over which essentially repeats what Miss A has just said. Tacky.

The Divine Divas’ costumes – each outfit trying out do the last – are the most deliciously outrageous ensembles I’ve ever seen. Accompanied by stunning wigs, headgear and immaculate make up, they bring a much needed bedazzle to each song.

Mario Maillol chose an ambitious venue. The Aotea centre is barely half full on open night. This show would be a completely different experience in a casino with cabaret seating. Then again, many in the audience seemed satisfied and entertained for the most part. The whole night has a nostalgic "See you at Burgundies" feel to it… but on a bigger stage and with fewer performers.

At its best, it’s light, bright, full of feathers and some fun. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Raewyn Whyte November 2nd, 2009

One of the aforementioned uncredited and highly trained /exuberant /spendid  dancers is Melbourne-based Kiwi Travis Khan, with a BPSA in Contemporary Dance from UNITEC and a National Diploma in Dance Performance  from the NZ School of Dance. Janet Jackson has always been one of his greatest inspirations. He was recently seen in NZ  in The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert - The Musical on tour, and made his professional debut in The Lion King (Melbourne).

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