Adelaide Fringe. Empire Theatre at Gluttony. 27 Feb 2019
Beautifully balanced in killer heels, poured into skinny pants that show all his curves, and sporting a gorgeous emblazoned haute couture diaphanous jacket, Justin Clausen looks the classy diva and for an hour he belts out famous songs made famous by fabulous divas! He’s every woman who matters!
Accompanied by Jamie Burgess on electric piano, the pair perform songs by Tina Turner, Tina Arena, Olivia Newton John, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and Cher to name a few. Burgess capably supports Clausen, including contributing to the humorous patter in between songs but which doesn’t always hit the mark.
The show begins tentatively but hit its straps with an excellent rendition of I Know Him So Well from the musical Chess that was made famous by two more divas – Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson – in 1985.
Burgess and Clausen know how to whip the audience into shape, and soon have everyone clapping hands (and in time!) throughout I’m Every Woman made famous by Whitney Houston in the 1978 film The Bodyguard.
Although the show is a cabaret act, there is a serious moment as well. Clausen bares his soul and explains how he reacted to his mother abandoning him and his family when he was a boy. He explains how he went from being a happy kid who loved to sing songs with his mum – both trying to emulate divas – to having to find his own way as a solo act. It’s a touching moment and Clausen uses the story as an introduction to Tracy Chapman’s Sorry, but it felt a little contrived and it had the effect of dampening the energy of the show, especially at a time when both performers are riding on a high.
But the audience is sent out on a happy note, and Clausen’s impersonation of Cher is worth the price of admission by itself.
The show needs a little tightening, but it’s a good fun, feel good show.
When: 27 Feb to 3 Mar
Where: Empire Theatre at Gluttony