Drag queen Chris Dennis, in their drag queen persona La Voix, and fresh from glam triumph on Britain’s Got Talent and RuPaul’s Drag Race, brings their frothy tribute to disco divas, for one night only, to Shaftesbury Avenue. The West End venue is a source of considerable pride for La Voix, that and a vast number of cruise ships, some of them carrying vast numbers of gay men. As La Voix archly remarks, she likes cruising.
It’s a comfortable show, a friendly show. A number of disco classics are sung, a great deal of banter with the audience takes place, a couple of glittery punters do a rudimentary YMCA dance, and a jolly good time is had by an audience happy to take what they are given. The impressions rely more on props than pin-point mimicry – Madonna is represented by pointy, conical breasts, Diana Ross by a huge red afro wig, Tina Turner by the curious arthritic stumble that marked her later performances, but there’s no malice, the audience knows the songs, there’s lots of sparkly stuff. What’s not to like?
Between the songs, La Voix chats. The chat is mildly risqué, larded with a few jokes and a few references to gay lifestyles, but never filthy. Or edgy. The show is mildly outrageous without being at any point offensive. It’s a fairly delicate line to walk, and La Voix walks it with some skill.
What else? A chunky four-piece band provides a competent backing to the songs, an array of lights on gimbals squirts beams into the faces of the audience and lights up all the glitter balls, but comes nowhere near to lighting the three dancers, who have to make do with the spill from La Voix’s two disconcertingly yellow follow-spots. The Super Troupers follow her around the stage like eager puppies, anyone else sharing the stage gets nothing.
The high spot of the evening is a rendition of Bonnie Tyler’s magnificently OTT anthem A Total Eclipse of the Heart. The audience is encouraged to sing the ‘turn around’ bits and then is instructed to stand with their backs to the stage, turning around on cue to voice the line. Everyone does it, everyone enjoys it, it has a sort of ramshackle energy, and it’s very communal.
This isn’t an outstanding piece of theatre, but it is good-hearted in a naughty way, it’s pleasantly voiced, undemandingly camp, and comfortably familiar. A face from the telly on a stage right there in front of folk, worth the price of the ticket for that alone.
Reviewed on 8 October 2023 and continues to tour