Review by guest writer, Ailsan Matthew
A Midsummer Nights Diva! presented by The Desperate
THE Desperate Divas are James Templeton and Ellen Verenieks,
and they are a duo to watch.
This was cabaret and more: a fully rounded evening with easy
banter, a clever structure and a refreshing lack of the usual
'heres-what-this-song-means-to-me tedium'. (I should confess
now, that I am a fan of good cabaret and, therefore, perhaps slightly
biased towards them. Mind you, the rest of the audience loved
them as well!)
The engaging Mr Templeton seems to be able to do anything he
sets his mind to - a wonderfully arch Wouldnt It Be Nice,
a heartbreaking rendition of Mama a Rainbow and the funniest
send-up of Night & Day I have ever seen, to name but
a few and flits with ease from heartthrob to vulnerable
His voice is powerful but he resists the temptation to blast
his delivery is nuanced and sensitive.
He manages to make an immediate connection with the audience,
a quality all too rare on the stage these days.
As for Ms Verenieks, she is blessed with natural comic timing,
with a crystal-clear voice to match Everybodys
Girl, normally played in a far more burlesque manner, was
here the mischievous girl next door with an infectious zest for
Her ability to turn every song into a complete story is masterful.
In the beautiful I Never Learned To Type, she quietly
conveyed a lifetime of thwarted ambition without once resorting
to high drama or self-pity. You could have heard a pin drop.
There were a few technical problems with the sound system but
this is a minor complaint.
Mr Templeton and Ms Verenieks are a dream team with beautiful
voices that mesh well, ingénue looks and an enviable onstage
camaraderie. Why these two have not been snapped up by the West
End is a mystery.
A Midsummer Nights Diva!, presented by The Desperate
Divas, on August 24, 2003, at 7pm. Venue: Lowdown at The Albany
(240 Great Portland Street, London, W1). WITH: James Templeton
and Ellen Verenieks.