1/2 Stars

★★ Christmas Musical Fun for those with a Sweet Tooth

Harriet Bignell reviews O’ Come All Ye Divas at Charing Cross Theatre

christinabianco-ocomeallyedivas_dec16From golden oldies like Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey to more modern divas like Adele and Lily Allen, Christina Bianco takes them all on in her performance of festive classics. Although an American YouTube sensation, Christina Bianco doesn’t live up to her reputation of vocal mimicry in this two and a half hour show of overdone Christmas ‘classics’. 

Christina Bianco is undoubtedly a talented signer and her Norah Jones is spot on! However, on the whole her impressions of English singers leave a lot to be desired. This gave rise to the suspicion that the rest of the audience were primarily American. In the same way most Americans look at Nigel Thornberry and says – ‘Yes, that’s every English man ever’ – this is particularly true of the Keira Knightly and Adele impersonations. The majority of the audience laughed and applauded them, but they were more like cryptic clues than uncanny impersonations.

The commentary on Judy Garland’s Christmas significance – “maybe it’s because the Wizard of Oz is all about family and love, or maybe it’s because her ruby slippers are such a wonderful Christmassy red” – is so sickly sweet that, if the diabetes in my genes had already kicked in, I could have been in danger of a hypo.

In spite of all this cantankerous, Scrooge-y critique, it would be ungenerous not to acknowledge how powerful Bianco’s voice is, how likeable and warm she is whilst navigating the audience from song to song and how much the rest of the audience clearly loved her. To her credit she keeps the audience guessing in her line-up; mixing diva impressions with songs you wouldn’t expect to ever catch them singing, and there’s a whole host of television impersonations, with the Ab Fab ladies being a favourite.

If you love Christmas classics turned into power ballads and can turn a blind ear to some questionable accents then by all means, oh come let ye adore Christina Bianco. If however, like myself, you prefer to limit your cheese intake to Christmas dinner so you can really do a number on the stilton, perhaps this isn’t the one for you.

Harriet Bignell

Christina Bianco’s  O Come, All Ye Divas plays at the Charing Cross Theatre until 7th January 2017.

 

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