O Come, All Ye Divas at Charing Cross TheatreCultureTheatre
Catapulted to fame after a YouTube video of her female vocalist impressions went viral – to the tune of 23 million viewers – Christina Bianco has hit US and UK TV and live shows galore. But whether or not you are familiar with Bianco’s unique skill, watching her perform is a sight to behold.
Channelling our best-loved divas from across the decades into the Charing Cross Theatre, the singer not only managed hilarious and convincing send-ups of their vocal talents but demonstrated an immense musical prowess of her own. Filling the stage with endearing charm and some suitably glittering diva outfits we heard Bianco become a kind of music medium invoking the voices of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Adele, Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey to name but a few. The impressions are impressive, but after hearing the first set, there is a nagging concern: could this get old?
But far from repetitive, not only is the repertoire of voices extensive (Bjork, Kate Bush, Gwen Stefani, the list goes on) but the performer keeps coming with different mash-ups, the more unlikely the better. She and her gung-ho band, led by pianist Joe Louis Robinson, have fun asking the audience to open Christmas crackers with names of singers and songs to challenge them to spontaneous combinations. Barbra Streisand’s My Passion for Design – which includes a prologue, epilogue and passages about war and peace – is read aloud by Katie Price, Drew Barrymore as well as Streisand herself; Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas is read by Keira Knightley, Penelope Cruz and Julie Andrews. Keeping up a seasonal thread throughout, Bianco performs mini-sketches of Christmas episodes of Absolutely Fabulous, Friends, and Eastenders (there is something particularly impressive about an American nailing Barbara Windsor’s infamous line: “Get outta my pub!”).
Despite her ability to imitate our pop culture icons and her Anglophile slant, there’s no getting away from the fact there is something supremely American about the show’s set-up and the style of humour. And the singers and shows referenced will perhaps predominantly appeal to a certain demographic. But coming in somewhere between camped-up musical theatre and stand-up comedy, Christina Bianco’s musical and comic talent make for a brilliantly entertaining night of Christmas cheer.
O Come, All Ye Divas is at Charing Cross Theatre from 20th December 2016 until 7th January 2017, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch Christina Bianco perform Natural Woman in 17 different voices here: