Broadway headliner Christina Bianco and West End showgirl Velma Celli (alter ego Ian Stroughair) are planning to cram in a lot of diva into their Edinburgh collaboration at Assembly Checkpoint this year. Pete Shaw caught up with them to find out more.
This isn’t your standard tribute show so audiences can expect a lot of surprises!
Tell us about the Edinburgh show.
CHRISTINA: “Our show Divallusion is a wacky celebration of everyone’s favourite music and pop culture divas. The show is filled with impressions, sketches and musical mashups all honouring these great icons of our time. This isn’t your standard tribute show so audiences can expect a lot of surprises!”
IAN: “What she said! Yes, Christina and I like to do things a little differently. We also want it to be an interactive show where the audience can feel free to be vocal and join in the fun and, well… unleash their inner diva!”
Just how many divas can you squeeze into one hour?
CHRISTINA: “Well, we want you to come and find out! Ok, ok, I can tell you that I’ll be doing over 40 impressions during the show. So that covers just a few divas!”
IAN: “We haven’t actually counted, but the answer is A LOT! We cover all sorts of divas. The current divas, the classic divas, divas you love that used to be popular and divas you wish you could forget! We try to give a moment to them all and include some for every genre and generation.”
Christina, you've done everything from The Ellen Degeneres Show to Forbidden Broadway. What's the attraction of the Edinburgh Fringe?
CHRISTINA: “I’ve always wanted to perform at this festival. Being from NYC, the idea of coming to Europe and having the chance to watch and work with artists from all over the world is incredibly exciting. Meeting other artists, collaborating and experiencing the creative energy just pouring out of every street - it’s a very unique opportunity that I think can only help you grow as an artist.”
Velma, you're a regular at the Hippodrome in London. Are you injecting a little Las Vegas showgirl glamour into the West End?
IAN: “I’d like to think so! The great thing is that audiences are so keen to come see what the Velma show has in store. They know they’re gonna get sass, splits, glamour, hot music, fabulous dancers and incredible aerialists all in one night! That sort of entertainment isn’t as easily found in the West End so I feel it’s my duty to provide it.”
Finally, if you could stage a show of the greatest divas, dead or alive, who would be in the line up?
CHRISTINA: “This is tough but I think I would go for an odd pairing. Judy Garland and Celine Dion. Those are the two divas who I’d be most exhilarated to watch together (and perform along side!)”
IAN: “Shirley Bassey, Cher & Julie Andrews. That would be legendary.”
Twitter: @Divallusion @XtinaBianco1 @VelmaCelli