Diane Chorley: Rhythm of Live

Meet Diane Chorley, legendary 80s superstar, part-time piccalilli representative and full-time diva. Slinking onto the stage dripping in pearls and shoulder pads higher than the seawalls of her home turf, Canvey Island, Diane soon eases into what she does best; owning the room and talking about herself. Accompanied by mute Swedish guitarist Milky Bar Chris de Burgh, she takes us on a journey through her classic 1987 album Rhythm of Live – an album so exclusive and trendy that no one has even heard of it. Celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in style, Diane recounts with elegant relish her fall into stardom; proud owner of an exclusive night club one day, the next forced into a celebrity life by supposed popstar Michael what’s-his-name… Jackson, or something? Diane has seen it all; from recorder stalkers to Michael Sheen and a particularly sad tale of a rare Peruvian tribe, there is nothing for which this lady does not own the T-Shirt – I guess that’s the price you pay when the whole world is in love with you.

With more lip-twitches than the King of Rock and Roll, Selley’s portrayal is nuanced, meticulous and inspired in every possible way.

I should mention here (partly because it took me a while to work this out) that Diane Chorley is the fictitious drag character of performer David Selley, seemingly the only person who could give Diane a run for her money in terms of talent and hilarity.

Leaving no stone unturned (in case there is Calpol hidden under it) Diane hilariously brings us up to speed with recent events, and as with all good friends it feels as though it has been no time at all. Over the course of the hour she performs for us the record, track by track in all of its synth-loaded glory. Even in the midst of all of the divine bejewelled farce, Diane packs a punch not just with her wit but with her vocal ability, too. Between tracks, however, is where Diane really shines: the fact I haven’t heard of the songs is certainly not because they lack talent – just prior existence.

With more lip-twitches than the King of Rock and Roll, Selley’s portrayal is nuanced, meticulous and inspired in every possible way. His command of the character is magnificent, and Diane’s stagecraft shines brighter than crepe de chine on fire. They say you should never meet your heroes, but Diane doesn’t bite: she is too busy being a global sensation.

Hold onto your hats boys and girls, the Duchess of Canvey herself, Diane Chorley is back.

Reviews by Matthew Sedman

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Performances

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The Blurb

Fallen 80s icon Diane Chorley and genius multi-instrumentalist Milky Bar Chris De Burgh perform from her seminal 1986 album. An honest, funny, moving account of one woman's struggle for creativity whilst battling prejudice and a life-threatening addiction to Calpol. 'She's alluring, exciting, unique' (Times). 'There'll be comedy, hair, music... a whole load of fun' (Metro). 'She had the audience on their feet' **** (Edinburgh Evening News). 'Hugely entertaining' (Scotsman). **** (Evening Standard).

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