Divallusion with Christina Bianco and Velma Celli @ Assembly Checkpoint

Review by Leonie Walters | 23 Aug 2014
  • Divallusion with Christina Bianco and Velma Celli

Christina Bianco and Velma Celli star in an hour-long thrilling tribute to the grandes dames of pop, jazz and soul. In Divallusion, you can expect countless classic hits and the redemption of your guilty pleasures until the point where all guilt evaporates and only pleasure remains.

Among many other delights, the statuesque Velma Celli performs an oddly moving interpretation of a Jessie J song, and the petite Christina Bianco gives an uncanny Celine Dion impression. Together, these women look like a comic duo (with a sulking pianist for contrast) but apart from being funny, they’re mainly very good. Their fantastic singing and the tightly directed show allow them to get away with being quite silly and cheesy, which means cat fights, leopard print, sequins and testicular puns are ubiquitous.

The show’s audience is a draw in itself, so make sure to sit at a front-row table where singing, dancing, and looking up at the stage with devout adoration are not the least bit frowned upon. Going along with the enthusiastic punters and with the divas' belief that everyone – you too! – has an inner diva that's waiting to be dragged out makes their show that much more enjoyable. Good thing it’s nearly impossible not to do so.

WARNING: Contains elements of Margaret Thatcher.

Christina Bianco and Ian Stroughair: Divallusion with Christina Bianco and Velma Celli, Assembly Checkpoint, Until 21 Aug, 7.25pm, £14 http://www.theatrebench.com/