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RDavie-JANKS-58By Tiffany Markman, copywriter, editor and mom to a gorgeous chatterbox, who tries to balance her workaholism with cuddles, books, caffeine & reining in her kugelry. Follow her on twitter

With a show titled Supreme Divas, presented during Women’s Month, there’s always the risk of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’, which is my idea of hell. So, with some small amount of trepidation (but faith in the discernment of Joburg Theatre) I went off last night to a ‘celebration of fabulous women of song’.

It’s diva-ine.

On the agenda

Featuring five very different women, each with her own vocal style, the show presents old-school and new-school musical classics, honouring legends like Etta James, Bette Midler, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Brenda Fassie, and more.

Supreme DivasIt’s supported by a superb 8-piece band, led by musical director Llewellyn George, and it’s very glam, with spotlights, sequins, sparkle and show-stopping crescendos.

What to expect

Expect a glorious mix of the big and loud, the sweet and slow, and even the gentle growl, divided into two acts: ‘then’ (80s/90s hits) and ‘now’ (big songs of the 2000s).

Expect inter-generational entertainment, perfect for younger audiences (aged 8+) from musical families, and pretty much anyone else who’s enjoyed strong female voices from 1980 to date. Expect a fun, festive, charming night out.

My highlights

  • Bette Midler’s ‘From a Distance’ by musical theatre diva Elizca Coetzer, which actually made me weepy. Her Adele performance is equally jaw-dropping.
  • Powerful vocalist Lelo Ramasimong, who is outstanding in her renditions of Etta James and Brenda Fassie favourites, performed with magnificent control.
  • Iconic Barbra Streisand and Amy Winehouse songs delivered by 15-year-old (no, this isn’t a typo) sensation Marianthe Panas, whose ‘Valerie’ is truly special.
  • Tracey-Lee Oliver’s ‘Almaz’ – part sweetness, part growl – which is easily as good as the original; as is her ‘Ain’t No Other Man’ by Christina Aguilera.
  • ‘Vulindlela’ and the rest of the local medley, which is delicious in every way (but seemed to be missing the ‘Pata Pata / Click Song’ promised in the programme).
  • The expressive and eye-catching vividness of Tia Herman, whose sheer passion enables her to dominate the stage every time she appears. This girl can move!

A surprise

No cliches. How lovely, and how unexpected, for a tribute musical show.

I’m going to quote fellow reviewer Lesley Stones here, who says, aptly, ‘A nice touch is that the most obvious of the singers to deliver each song isn’t automatically the one who takes the lead. So you don’t get Ramasimong doing all the black numbers, and young Marianthe Panas, who joins the quartet in her professional theatre debut, gets to do the Barbra Streisand numbers instead of one of the older, more experienced singers.’

Bottom line?

Book now. Supreme Divas is on-stage from tonight (Friday 12 August) til Sunday. Visit webtickets.co.za or contact the Joburg Theatre.

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