DivaLicious and the Impresario

DivaLicious and the Impresario
Directed by Ian Toyne. The Art Gallery of Western Australia Concourse, Perth Cultural Centre, Fringeworld, WA. 28-30 January, 2016

The first thing that one notices about DivaLicious and the Impresario, apart from the lovely venue, is that the audience is decidedly more mature than the average FringeWorld show, with nary a hipster beard or blue hairdo in sight. In some ways this is a shame, as I feel that this is a show that would be enjoyed by all, and the few teens and twenties in the audience clearly had a ball.

Essentially an updating of Mozart's comedy with music, The Impresario, written in 1786, this version, set in 2016 Perth, is riotously funny, with plenty of contemporary references and humour aimed at an opera-aware audience, while remaining true to the original story.

The performances are stupendous. Igor Sas is enigmatic as the burnt out Impresario, Mr. Scott Scruples, with Robert Hofmann as his assistant Mr. Basil Bluff, with Hofmann much better than the basic baritone his character claims to be. Ian Toyne is very convincing as mining magnate Alan Angel, who uses his wealth to fund the opera, for his own purposes. Musical direction and piano accompaniment is provided by a lively and engaging Tommaso Pollio.

The DivaLicious ladies, Fiona Cooper Smyth and Penny Shaw, are fabulous as dueling divas Dame Gwendolyn Goldentrill and Ms Svetlana Silverpeal. This show is a brilliant way to showcase their excellent voices, great teamwork, outstanding rapport and well-honed comedic skills.

DivaLicious and the Impresario is a fully realised, highly polished well-honed production — albeit mounted on a small scale. The Concourse of the Art Gallery seems a perfect location that employs (even though it lampoons) high art. Lighting, by Just Improvise, Geoffrey Glencross, adds atmosphere and class.

An absolutely delightful performance that was a celebration of opera, wonderfully insightful and great fun.

Kimberley Shaw

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