The ImpoSTAR: Who Does He Think He Is?

Circa One, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

19/10/2013 - 09/11/2013

BATS Theatre, Wellington

06/12/2012 - 15/12/2012

Production Details

Jason Chasland is an impressionist and entertainer with leather lungs!  He stars in this fun and funny tour de force created especially to showcase his singing talent and his mind blowing ability to do hilarious impressions.  

In a show fusing together classic icons with contemporary music phenomenon’s – from Barbra Streisand to Nicki Minaj, from Aaron Neville to Chubby Checker and from Julie Andrews to Britney Spears, Chasland’s impressions are hilarious and jaw droppingly incredible.

“I am extremely excited to be bringing this show to Wellington,” says Chasland. “Inspired by old Vaudeville acts and movie stars who were ‘triple threat’ performers, I thought with hard work and discipline I could totally do that! So I began researching hours of audio and video footage; a year or so later I contacted Lyndee-Jane. We have created what I believe is a special, unique and mind blowing theatrical experience!”

The ImpoSTAR is an exhilarating evening with over twenty amazing impressions that chop and change so fast it will leave the audience gasping for air!

6 – 15 December (no show Sun/Mon), 9pm
BATS Theatre
, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
04 8024175 or
Tickets: $20 / 15 or Groups of 6+ $16 (each)

The ImpoSTAR marks the last performance at BATS Theatre until renovations complete 2014.  

2013 season

The ImpoSTAR premiered at the Theatre Royal Nelson in 2012, before a smash hit season at BATS Theatre, Wellington. This 2014 season is bigger and better! For this exciting main stage Circa Theatre experience The ImpoSTAR has been revamped with fabulous new songs, characters and more of Jason’s amazing impressionist journey.

“Jason Chasland is SHOW STOPPING!” – The NZ Listener

“Show stopping, his energetic performance was riveting to watch, channeling distraught divas effortlessly.” – Capital Times

“Chasland is extremely impressive, he nails the characters superbly!” – Theatreview

“Brilliant with remarkable voice.” – The Lumiere Reader

19 October – 9 November 2013
Tues & Wed 6.30pm, Thurs – Sat 8pm and Sun 4pm (no show Mon)
Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Wellington
Bookings: 04 801 7992 or
Tickets: $46 / 38 / 25

Choreographer:  Leigh Evans
Set Designer:  Rose Kirkup
Lighting Design:  Jennifer Lal
Music Editor:  Tane Upjohn-Beatson
Sound Engineer:  James Woods
Costume Design:  Gillie Coxill
Operator/Stage Manager:  Ashlyn Smith
Set Construction:  Nick Lane
Costume Assistant:  Cathy ‘Tree’ Harris
Vocal Advisor:  Christina Cusiel
Publicity:  Brianne Kerr 
Graphic Design:  Nic Marshall
Production Photography:  Paul McLaughlin
Poster Photography:  Hamish Burson
Video camera operator:  Grant Atkinson
Box Office:  Linda Wilson
FOH Manager:  Suzanne Blackburn

Flamboyant dreams of stardom get the solo space they need

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 22nd Oct 2013

Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and many others are not names you would normally associate with a cluttered attic in a farmhouse in the Wairarapa where The ImpoSTAR takes place.

But all these divas and pop stars fit neatly into the unglamorous setting if you are a lonely, bullied, rugby-playing teenager with a powerful voice who finds a more exciting existence in faraway Hollywood and Broadway which have been seen, heard, imagined and imitated from numerous LPs, TV shows, movies and videos.

The ImpoSTAR is Jason Chasland’s solo autobiographical musical revue which he performs with all the necessary confidence and flamboyance of his idols of whom he gives deft impressions that slide, too infrequently, into comic caricatures rather than accurate impersonations.

Between breaks in the songs we get to know something of his family and his career from his first childhood appearance on stage, to a sixteen year-old playing Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady, to his coming out of the closet, and to a shot at stardom in London.

When he performed the show at Bats last year the production was cramped and a bit muddled. His presence in such a small space was overpowering and his amplified voice very loud. There was a lot of stage smoke.

The current version has been cleverly expanded to fill the much larger space and the autobiographical interludes have been made more personal and coherent. The costumes, wigs, videos, slides, costumes and setting are far more professional but without losing the ordinariness of the background – witness the numerous everyday objects mingled with more exotic objects suspended behind the attic and lit to make them look glamorous. There’s still a lot of smoke.

It’s a pity there isn’t enough material here for a Forbidden Broadway-type revue. Jason Chasland would fit very neatly into one with his comical version of Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady in which he exaggerates the purity of her vowels. But he coarsens his go at Barbra Streisand with a distracting false nose. It’s the voice that matters and that he has in spades.


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Energy, enthusiasm, bang on dance moves, a truly impressive voice …

Review by Hannah Smith 20th Oct 2013

Lady Gaga says that, “We are all born superstars” and Jason Chasland seems to be the glittering proof. 

The heavenly orb at the centre of The ImpoSTAR, was certainly born to shine – and if you have any doubts, this is the show that will prove it to you. Against the backdrop of a farmhouse attic in the Wairarapa, Chasland takes us on a musical journey through his formative years, with a series of all-singing, all-dancing musical impressions of all those divas and darlings who have left an impression on him. 

Loosely framed around reminiscences of his Nana Missy, it is a glittery confection of nonsense, glitz and good humour, developed by Chasland with director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford.  The ImpoSTAR has grown from an initial season in Nelson to a stint at BATS, and is now centre stage at Circa One.

The Circa season is clearly an opportunity for higher production values. Rose Kirkup’s set is an attic stuffed full of memories with plenty of hiding spots for wigs and feather boas. Jen Lal’s lighting design picks out the beauty – I am hypnotised by the strings of shiny household objects rising from the back of the stage – and, when required, embraces the fabulousness.

As one would expect, it is the songs that I recognise that resonate with me, and so the more musical influences you share with Chasland, the more there will be in this show for you.  The program makes very clear that he is an ‘impressionist’ rather than an ‘impersonator’: a distinction that presumably is made to counter the fact that some of him impressions aren’t terribly good. But where he might not always be uncannily accurate, he is certainly 100% there, with energy, enthusiasm, bang on dance moves, a truly impressive voice and incredibly flexible hamstrings. 

While the framing narrative and story-line are pretty sketchy, that isn’t what this is about.  This is one performer and his impressive skill-set – and by the end he has the opening night audience hooting and hollering, and stamping their feet begging for more.


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Talent raw yet it’s impressive

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 10th Dec 2012

Jason Chasland has a cult following of hysterical screamers who were out in full force for the opening night of his The ImpoSTAR as they whooped, hollered and screeched with laughter throughout his seventy minute show.

I lost count of how many songs he sang in which he presentedhis impressions of mainly female performers who range from the inevitable and boringly over parodied Judy Garland to Lady Gaga and a gaggle of other Broadway divas and pop stars in between.

It is stressed in the programme that he is an impressionist not an impersonator. I’d say he’s a clever cartoonist. Unlike a performer such as Jane Horrocks who can faultlessly imitate numerous singers, he exaggerates the stars’ vocal inflections and by using to good effect his comical facial expressions and his highly flexible mouth.

There is no doubting that he has an amazing voice and an impressive stage presence but it is a talent that at the moment is raw and undisciplined. He could be a Kiwi Nathan Lane; he has a similar chubby, camp and cuddly persona as the Broadway star in the movie The Birdcage.

He also uses a microphone which may be necessary but he has a voice that does not seem to need any help at all with amplification in a theatre the size of Bats. His current microphone seems to muffle his words and some of his occasional adapted lyrics seem to be clever and amusing. I think I heard a reference to the Chapman Tripps in Everything’s Coming Up Roses from the musical Gypsy but most of the other lines were lost. 

His performance takes place in a drab setting which is made up of some suitcases and a trunk out of which he pulls the occasional prop and tatty wig after wig for each singer. There’s also a lot of stage smoke and some tame lighting. It’s a Brechtian threepenny opera production that needs some glitz and glamour. 


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Talent-laden blast from many a past

Review by John Smythe 07th Dec 2012

Judging by the opening night audience reaction, culminating in a standing ovation, Jason Chasland is onto a winner with The ImpoSTAR: Who Does He Think He Is?

Developed with director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford, the rationale is simply to display his talent and share his passion for musical theatre and theatrical singers; a passion that grew within when he was a quiet and painfully shy farm boy seeking escape from a harsh ‘real world’ … Surely there’s a song in that.

Indeed that premise could have provoked an original establishing song rather than Scott Alan’s ‘I’m a Star’ from his Dreaming Wide Awake album (2007), and gone on to inform a stronger dramatic structure. Instead we are treated to an apparently random plethora of impressions – 24, I counted, plus an encore – interspersed with a bit of autobiographical chat and spiced up with a couple of lyrically naughty parodies.

Clad in basic black, Chasland uses wigs plucked from suitcases plus the odd pair of specs and, for Streisand, a plastic nose, to deliver visual distinction. But it’s his extraordinary vocal range that shines through strongest in this 90-minute (including interval) show.

Not that it’s all just a matter of soaking up the spectacle. The purposeful omission of a song-and-singers list from the programme stimulates a game of ‘Guess the Artiste’ and there is a bit of sing-along to be had too. Actually some in last night’s audience sang along with quite a lot.

Given Chasland’s passion began with spinning his mother’s vinyl collection on the playroom pickup, there is something here for every generation. Without giving too much of the show away, the obvious choices of Judy Garland and Elvis Presley are covered early; there’s chubby twisting, flaming cash and seasonal falsetto; a bizarre car ride, a golden horse trot and a touch of gray; a bit of a kiss, a big spender, the perverting of do-re-mi sweetness into a ho unrelated to Santa Claus, a certain puppet from a certain street whose manipulator left under a cloud … and many more.

Some impressions are fleeting while Patti LuPone, Barbara Streisand and Jennifer Holliday get the full treatment. And just the one encore, if you are gaga-gagging for it.

It could be said these are 24 stars in search of a more cohesive system within which to shine, or that it’s a shame we don’t get the full costume production values we saw when Chasland was an honorary BeatGirl in Spector. But as a talent-laden solo show, supported by a hard-working technical team, it’s a blast from many a past. 


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