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Dream team deliver a night of cracking cabaret


Review by guest writer, Ailsan Matthew

A Midsummer Night’s Diva! presented by The Desperate Divas

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 'here’s-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 Wouldn’t 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 young man.

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 – Everybody’s Girl, normally played in a far more burlesque manner, was here the mischievous girl next door with an infectious zest for life.

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 Night’s 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.

 

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