Review: DivaLicious - Defying Gravity, FRINGE WORLD

Carol Flavell Neist

If you like bawdy humour and good singing, this is an act you must not miss.
Review: DivaLicious - Defying Gravity, FRINGE WORLD

I have reviewed Divalicious several times in the last decade or so, and I have never failed to find their acts outrageously funny to the point of laughing out loud and almost falling from my seat to roll on the floor. From an early gig at the Ellington Jazz Club some eight or so years ago, this highly talented crazy duo, operatic sopranos Fiona Cooper Smyth and Penny Shaw, has never failed to have me ROTFL, at least figuratively.

This duo always attracts a large audience, and the big tent at Fringe World was packed with enthusiastic supporters. Their Fringe offering for 2019, Defying Gravity, was well-titled by the pun. Gravity was indeed in very short supply. Laughter from go to whoa was the order of the evening.

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The ladies set the act in and around a comfy-looking bed. To get the show underway, they collapsed on the bed wearing animal-printed pyjamas and lying prone, started singing. Then, weeping, they donned boxing gloves. Somehow, they managed to strip down to dance wear, and promptly broke into a song about ‘When I lose weight…’ Isn’t that the inner longing of many women and more than a few men? We were on their side at once. Next we got a lovely rendition of ‘Eidelweiss’ – only it had been rewritten as ‘Idle Face’.

The duo cleverly made use of audience participation, the first one being a gentleman to render ‘Too old (to cut the mustard)’. And so it went on, song upon song, laugh upon laugh, until with a sudden change of pace, we got ‘When I am laid in earth’ from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas sung solo by Fiona Cooper-Smyth. She played it straight – almost. The last lines of some verses were cleverly altered to get the expected and inevitable laughter. This segued into the famous duet from The Pearl Fishers which received similar treatment.

And so the show went on, the appreciative audience frequently in fits of laughter. I think my favourite was ‘Don’t cry for me, dry Ryvitas’ which would call to the heart of anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight. When it morphed into ‘Don’t cry for me, dry vagina’, the house was in fits.

The show would not be to everyone’s taste, as it touched on almost every aspect of sexuality and the practice thereof. Even masturbation got a look in, in a song called 'Making Love Alone'. But if you like bawdy humour and good singing, this is an act you must not miss.

5 stars: ★★★★★

DivaLicious - Defying Gravity!
De Parel Spiegeltent at The Woodside Pleasure Garden
Fringe World, Perth
Season concluded

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author


Carol Flavell Neist  has written reviews and feature articles for The Australian, The West Australian, Dance Australia, Music Maker, ArtsWest and Scoop, and has also published poetry and Fantasy fiction. She also writes fantasy fiction as Satima Flavell, and her books can be found on Amazon and other online bookshops.