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13 September, 2019

The chance to see a diva at her finest on stage

The first half of Trevor Ashley’s ‘Double Ds: Two Decades of Divadom’ gave the QPAC audience the chance to feel as if they are waiting in the changing room with Ashley: enjoying anecdotes about 20 years in ‘the business,’ hearing about auditions won and loves lost, and admiring the stamina of an artist who has had leading roles in shows that have run for many, many hundreds of performances.

Peppered with songs from musical theatre roles that Ashley has made uniquely his own, the first half of this 120-minute show was an enjoyable run through a stellar career on the Australian musical stage.

Highlights included songs from ‘Priscilla,’ ‘Hairspray,’ and the fantastic ‘Les Mis’ “Master of the House.”

But it was the second half of the show where Ashley really shone.

Liza Minnelli, Cher, Eartha Kitt, Whitney Houston and the magnificent Tina Turner were ‘recreated’ as only a Diva Hall of Fame inductee could.

I just wish I’d had the chance to see ‘Diamonds Are For Trevor,’ as the Shirley Bassey tribute was just fabulous—entertaining mimicry (that curling Welsh top lip!) combined with the power of the Ashley voice (and that frock!).

Great to see that the 2019 Brisbane Festival did not stint on the budget.

Suitably fabulous lighting (Peter Rubie) established a Las Vegas headlining vibe, and James Simpson (Musical Director, piano and backing vocals) and his 10-piece band were a great choice for this musical event.

Perhaps on occasion, the sound balance needed to be adjusted in favour of the vocalist, particularly in the first half (and for Jaz Flower’s second-half number).

Gloria Gaynor’s “I am what I am,” was, of course, a perfect finale.

But it was the Shirley Bassey “I know what love is’ that was the high-point of my evening.