Tahlia Ries always wanted to be a Diva, even though she’s not quite sure what it means. “Diva” is a loaded word, after all. It can be defined as either a “drama queen”, an “opera singer” or even (in a more traditional sense) a “goddess”.
To find out what sort of Diva she is, Tahlia takes to the stage in To Diva or Not To Diva, a musical exploration of the self. Accompanied by musical director Emma Knights, Tahlia takes us through various styles and times, from Broadway to Opera.
Tahlia definitely has the right style. She’s friendly, funny and obviously deeply passionate about her work. Even though she admits she is “not necessarily skilled in the dance”, the rest of her performance makes up for the lack of movement on stage.
Being a classically trained vocalist and even singing tutor, Tahlia definitely has the skills and knowledge behind her. Though at the beginning of the show she wavers and falters slightly, particularly stumbling through Broadway musical and cabaret numbers, such as Maybe This Time. Tahlia’s true strength lies in her opera vocals which, while not the most powerful pipes I’ve ever heard, are well-controlled and obviously the result of much training.
I must give her her rightful dues, however, as putting on a show like this in the back of a noisy pub would not be the easiest thing to do! I think that’s why some of her vocals were a bit shaky to start off with, and why her opera singing felt restrained at points. It’s just not possible to belt out your finest chords while people down pints just outside. Another small complaint about the stage set-up is the use of rather over-blown lighting effects. But, hey, at least these effects added a lot of colour to the performance… literally.
To Diva or Not To Diva is a show of many flavours. While it’s arguably not set in the right place for the performer, Tahlia does her best with what she’s got and does a great job with it!
Oh, and if you’re a Sound of Music fan not afraid of audience participation, you’ll definitely want to go and check out this show!
Reviewed by James Rudd
Rating (out of 5): 3
Venue: The Crown & Sceptre, 308-312 King William Street
Season: 26 & 28 June
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: $10.00 – $23.00
Bookings: Book online through the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe website http://www.cabaretfringefestival.com/to-diva-or-not-to-diva/