Cocktails with the Diva

The Oxford Dictionary describes 'Diva' as: “A celebrated female opera singer, a famous female singer of popular music, or a woman regarded as temperamental or haughty”. Melinda Hughes, the Diva in this case, has many of these attributes; she has an Opera background, she sings songs in a popular style and she puts on a haughty demeanour within the context of her charming and witty show. The performance is just lacking that extra bit of star quality expected of a true Diva. Everything is in place, thought through and carefully rehearsed, but lacks sassy confidence.

She should have absolute faith in her material and trust and enjoy her delivery.

The material (presumably original), is cleverly written – lyrically and melodically. The amusing lyrics are delivered with immaculate articulation and the tuneful melodies with perfect intonation. The opening number: The Edinburgh Drag is an excellent starter with a strong musical hook and biting lyrics and the wicked Kander and Ebb spoof will ring bells for anyone having seen Chicago or Cabaret. The Fanny Brice-ish My Man/Bill torch song gave excellent musical contrast and the compound time patter number would amuse Noël Coward.

Hughes is delicately accompanied by piano, bass and drums, which never overpower, although the inner rhythm between singer and band does rush at certain times. The venue is perfect for the show, but the pianist, Jeremy, is awkwardly placed behind Hughes and there is a tendency for her to look to him for support. She should have absolute faith in her material and trust and enjoy her delivery. Her banter with Jeremy is cleanly delivered and rehearsed, but would benefit from sounding more off-the-cuff.

Hughes' Diva has an innocent exterior and wicked interior. It is a very entertaining evening, the songs are clever and she is endearing with a stunning voice. If you're lucky, you may receive a cocktail too!

Reviews by Gordon Noele

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The Blurb

Spend an hour in the boudoir of Diva Melinda Hughes and her victimised pianist Jeremy Limb, where she shares her views on world affairs, plastic surgery, bad cabaret and how to mix the perfect Cosmopolitan. This musical romp through social satire and politics is composed of original and risqué songs with brilliantly crafted pastiches on opera and jazz with roots in Weimar Cabaret.

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