In Divine Company, created by and starring singer, writer, impressionist and actor, Christina Bianco is currently playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 11 – 20 May. The staging is simple – a mere piano and a microphone on a dimly lit set behind a drab backdrop lures the spectator into thinking they are here to witness yet another 1940s cabaret show.
However, together with the assistance of music director, Ryan MacKenzie (credentials include international tours of Les Miserables, West Side Story and Mary Poppins), the cast of two put on a performance that is conceptually unique – a combination of concert, comedy, theatre and improv.
From the outset, the theme is to “luxuriate” with Bianco making it clear that she wants the audience to indulge in “the bottled water and not the tap water”. During the 120minute production of In Divine Company, Bianco strikes a delicate balance between personal disclosure, by sharing humorous anecdotes about her journey from stage to screen, and (quite literally with her outfits) dazzling the audience with her impeccable impressions of several unapologetic divas including Barbara Streisand, Liza Minelli, Bette Midler, Julie Andrews and Celine Dion.
There is even a “topical” session where Bianco switches from singing to reading poetry about political issues in the voices of famous television celebrities like Sofia Vergara from Modern Family and Edina Monsoon from Absolutely Fabulous.
In a world where remixes are incredibly popular, In Divine Company is a full-fledged entertainer, offering its audience the mashups they didn’t know they needed, from Edith Piaf singing ‘The winner takes it all’ to Duffy singing ‘Boom Bang-a-bang!’ Bianco is a tour de force and with her charm and powerful vocals quickly commands over the stage declaring, as she sings Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’, that “her nodes never bothered her anyway!”
If you enjoy music and are looking for an eccentric and quirky way to relive your favourite songs, this might be the show for you. Be prepared to indulge in divas, celebrate some of the leading female music figures and dance along to songs ranging across different genres spanning several eras – all with one person and one voice!