Stephen Valeri takes audiences down a reminiscent path of 90’s and Naughties songs (mainly) from all his favourite divas. Your Diva Needs You has you chuckling throughout this mish-mash of cabaret, stand-up comedy and game show. Accompanied by a live band, Valeri manages to make this largely self-indulgent show entertaining throughout the night as he takes us on a trek of all his biggest influences that he had growing up.
Let’s not dwell on the fact that the show started 10 minutes late (one of my biggest pet-peeves) and move on to the start of the show. The show opens with the band playing to The Sound of Music and guest vocalist, Jaclyn DeVincentis, lip-syncing badly to it. Cue me sliding down my chair thinking ‘oh no another horror cabaret, strap yourself in Trav, you are in for a shocker.’ A few lines in though, Valerie bursts onto stage in a nun’s outfit and we realise it was him singing all along (cue the sigh of relief and first of many laughs of the night). Valeri reveals to us that he always wanted to be a game show host and here was his chance. He points out a large game board of 15 numbered squares each with his favourite divas hidden behind. Our job is to guess them through a series of clues and after each is revealed, Valeri pays homage to them.
Valeri is an incredibly talented singer and pulls off some huge numbers throughout the show. Backed by a brilliant band in Tyson Legg, Andy Rousch and Kellie Anne Kimber (who got called both Kerry-Anne Kennerley and Kate DeAraugo, some sympathy points there), Valerie had a mostly Y-Generation audience bopping away to their childhood memories. DeVincentis, who I originally saw in John and Jen at Chapel Off Chapel, was an absolutely stunning addition as a back-up vocalist and bounced off Valeri beautifully throughout. Their banter, skits and final number were fantastic and certainly brought the show to a whole new level.
Valeri has a certain charm and charisma that immediately allows you to like him. His wit and comedic timing is spot on and his grace in handling one obnoxious audience member made the show feel like he had been performing it for years. My two minor criticisms were that the show went for perhaps a touch too long and that there wasn’t enough of Valeri’s work. At one stage through the night he sings a song called Dead Giveaway that he penned himself and for me, it was my favourite song of the night. I would love to have seen more of Valeri’s own work because he is clearly a funny and talented performer.
I don’t want to ruin the guessing game for future audiences by saying too much about the bands and artists used in the show, so I’ll just say the following directly to Stephen. Stephen, after a Rough Day I came to your show On My Own. If I Told You That your show Truly Madly Deeply brightened my day up would that be good to hear? I Should Be So Lucky to have listened to you sing, and even though you are Only Human, your voice is A Touch of Paradise. These Days there are a lot of shows that should probably Burn but I Finally Found Someone that makes you want to Get on Your Feet and not Stop dancing. That’s what I’ll be Tellin’ Everybody anyway and That’s the Way it is!
95% of the audience were friends and family of Valeri, but within 10 minutes of the show starting, those of us who didn’t know him felt like we had been friends with him for years. He is one to watch out for and I encourage him to write a show with more of his own material; I will be getting a front row seat to that. Your Diva Needs You is not just for the Y-Gen, people of all ages can enjoy it and it is well worth heading down to The MC Club this weekend to have a look.