Their choreography is slick and laden with all the elegance of the original divas they're representing
Divas charts the relationship of two men from first meeting to last parting. Following the structure of Jason Robert Brown's Last Five Years, we see Damien and Adam tell their own story but in opposite directions, one starting at the beginning of their relationship and one at the end. It is intelligent, driven and passionate storytelling.
The "divas" referred to are the common tie between the two men: their passion for the music of Dusty Springfield, The Ronnettes and The Supremes. In this production, these divas are personified by three glamorous singers, continually present onstage in beehives and sequined dresses with thigh-high splits. They provide an a capella accompaniment to the piece, while also voicing other characters. Their choreography is slick and laden with all the elegance of the original divas they're representing, while their integration into the piece works very well. As the drama heightens in the men's narratives, I really wanted the music to match that energy level, which the unaccompanied voices weren’t able to, although a beautiful rendition of Be My Baby towards the end was a poignant moment where the softness worked. There are a few pitching issues which taint an otherwise lovely effect.
Joel Samuels and Daniel Ward are strong and committed as Adam and Damien. They talk directly to us, without pretence or distraction, and that level of direct address is very affecting. There is plenty of humour throughout the play and Samuels in particular brings a dry sass to Adam's bitterness.
The writing is clever and quick, becoming a fiery, dynamic debate. However, towards the end of the show, their ideas become so conflicted and contradictory that it becomes very difficult to follow. As we left, I was not the only audience member confused by the breakdown of sense.
One of the most satisfying aspects of the piece is that, although it is about a romantic relationship between two men, it is in no way a comment on homosexuality. The irrelevance of their gender on the piece and the lack of a need to make a statement about it feel really refreshing.