Most of us will probably never get to see a Beyoncé or Madonna concert in our lifetime; the tickets are too expensive, and such goddesses like Beyoncé or Madonna probably won’t be heading to Manchester anytime soon. However, for those diehard fans who have the aforementioned concerts on their bucket lists, but don’t have the money to see them now, Divas through the Decades, currently playing at the Palace through March 2nd, might be your next best bet. An original, musical revue written by Palace Artistic Director Carl Rajotte, Divas is a sexy, scintillating look at the music of Beyoncé, Madonna, and other divas who changed the face of the music industry forever.
The cast-a combination of four powerhouse female singers and seven wildly talented dancers-performs the hits of such greats as Whitney Houston and Pat Benetar with heart and a sass that would make Aretha Franklin proud. All four of the singers do ample justice to their original counterparts, but, from the very beginning, it is undeniably clear that Angela Birchett is the star among this incredible cast. A consummate belter with a face like Etta James and a voice to match, Birchett pours her heart and soul into such standards as “I Will Always Love You” and “Respect”. Her breakout number, however, is the soul-stirring Etta James classic “At Last”; after that number, if there was anyone in the house who wasn’t moved, they could have taken straight to the stage and done the song themselves. Equally as enjoyable is Cassandra Ward’s rousing performance of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” in the Second Act, which is as close to the Super Bowl as you’re going to get around here. Michelle Rajotte and Rose Ouellette both hold their own in group numbers such as the eleven-o-clock number of “You Make Me Feel Like A (Natural Woman)”; though in two of her big solo numbers Ouellette hasn’t quite found her inner Mariah or Celine (Don’t worry Rose, I’m sure you’ll have it down by the end of the weekend!)
The seven member team of dancers is superb as well, in some numbers almost stealing the show from the Divas; Major props also go to Carl Rajotte and Patrick Thompson’s rock concert inspired lighting design and the six piece band, especially the slick guitar of Music Arranger Andy Mowatt. Jessica Moryl’s costumes are also a highlight, ranging from the bizarre to the extravagant and everything in between! However, in spite of all the wonderful glitz and glamour on stage, there could have been more audience participation, especially in a show of this kind.
Divas through the Decades runs through March 2nd; For more information or for showtimes, please visit www.palacetheatre.org; if you liked this review, please comment below or feel free to email me at email@example.com. Thanks for reading!!!!!