The Supreme Fabulettes: Viva Las Divas at Leicester Square Theatre
With no previous experience of the genre, it’s hard to know what to expect from The Supreme Fabulettes: Viva Las Divas, but the end result is, if not truly engaging, then at the very least highly entertaining. The plot of the show, directed (with probably more skill than is immediately apparent) by William Baker, follows the origin of the self-described “all-male singing girl group”, and their development up to the present day. It’s a refreshingly simplistic concept, stripped clean of any unnecessary convolutions and serving only as a through-line to ferry the cast from one musical number to the next. It’s concise, just enough to make the show accessible for first-time audiences, no more and no less.
The main attraction is, of course, the four Fabulettes: Portia De Fossee, Vicki Vivacious, Vanilla Lush and Silver Summers, brought together as something akin to a drag queen version of the Spice Girls, as they sing and dance their way through a number of crowd-pleasing medleys from the 60s, 70s and so on. Expect ubiquitous glitter, staggering hairpieces and a healthy serving of camp. The costumes, and there are many, may be garish and excessive, but they’re certainly never cheap or tasteless. The songs, which run the gamut from Abba to Adele, provide ample opportunity to appreciate the Fabulettes’ vocal talents, with each band member bringing to bear remarkable power and soul. A heartfelt mash-up of Monroe’s Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, Bassey’s Diamonds Are Forever and Rihanna’s Diamonds is an unexpected highlight, evocatively rendered by Silver Summers at around the midpoint of the show.
Between numbers, the double act of Sheila Simmonds and Sam Buttery serve up comedy and audience participation as a palate-cleansing and expositional counterpoint to the glitz and glamour of the fab four. Viva Las Divas is a well-oiled machine that understands its audience and maintains a feeling of self-awareness, without going too “alternative” for mainstream theatre.
That’s not to say the show isn’t without its flaws. Often, it seems like the cast move around the stage just because the space is there to be used, and not out of any coherent choreography. In many instances, there’s a sense that, for better or worse, the Fabulettes go largely undirected while on stage, and that can compromise what is otherwise a tightly run and incredibly rewarding work of theatre.
The Supreme Fabulettes: Viva Las Divas is on at Leicester Square Theatre from 22nd August until 29th August 2015, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch The Supreme Fabulettes’ behind the scenes video here: