Saturday 7th September 2019 at the Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds.
There’s talent and then there’s Talent – Christina Bianco is and has the latter. Boasting hugely impressive pipes and a real star quality, First Impressions offers a few hours of fabulously full-on divalicious entertainment in which Bianco, joined by her brilliant band the Everyman Band, takes iconic divas and pays playful homage while being vocally brilliant in her own right. If you’re on board with the shorthand of Judy, Liza, Barbra, Bette and all those above and below (what am I saying? There is no such thing as above Barbra) then this is most definitely the show for you.
Highlights are many, beginning with the range defying opening number in her own voice to perfected Liza and Shirley routines and right on over to brilliant takes on Piaf and Morissette. Unlikely combinations are also central to Bianco’s winning comedy – there’s inherent hilarity in having certain iconic talents performing left field material with all stylistic quirks beautifully intact – taking Julie Andrews into the realm of pop music is just one glowing example.
And not content to impress with impressions of the great songstresses, Bianco also steps out to give us line readings in a variety of accents and spot on mannerisms (HOW does an American nail Scottish, Geordie, Chelsea and perfect RP I ask you?). She mashes up films with actors for unlikely and brilliant combinations – Merida’s take on the iconic scene from Taken and Aniston’s Wizard of Oz are brilliant – and that’s before she really takes the crown with impressions of our Ab Fab faves and Karen Walker herself. She also inexplicably begins to sound more like Katherine Parkinson and Keira Knightley than they do themselves…
Bianco nails so many voices it would be impossible to praise them all, but her very best, aside from those already mentioned include Chenoweth (the high notes alone are worth the ticket folks), Ariana, Peters and Idina. Bianco takes iconic divas and pays playful homage while being vocally brilliant in her own right. On the rare occasion that it’s a struggle to recognise the voice of the diva being channeled within the performance, in truth it couldn’t matter less – with a voice like this, all that matters is that it’s actively singing our ears off with a unique kind of star quality.
First Impressions is a first rate show which is as fun as it is vocally impressive. Landing great comedy, crafting impressions with stellar accuracy and combining it all with an uninhibited adoration of her muses are all winning elements, but quite apart from anything else, Bianco is an extraordinary vocal talent and I’d happily simply sit and listen to her slaying classics from opening to closing – all else is beautifully bonus. Diva disciples, rejoice!
Christina Bianco continues her tour with First Impressions until October 26th 2019 – you can find information about venues and tickets here.