REVIEW: Dragon’s Divas Den (Auckland Live)

Review by Tim George

Get the Look

Hosted by Lady Trenyce Bhone (Daniel Williams) and Ms Lady B (Bryony Skillington), Dragon’s Divas Den is a fun, slightly chaotic show featuring some great performers and game guests. 

Based in the Civic’s Wintergarden, the show is presented on a stage draped in vivid red. It is a simple strong visual that fits the aesthetics of the space well. The audience are seated at tables around the room. It puts one in the mind of a party, which is the perfect mood for the show. 

The song selections were great, ranging from showtunes (‘Big Spender’) to classic disco (‘Last Dance’) and contemporary musicals like The Greatest Showman. Ms Lady B and Brady Bunj (Brady Peeti) have great voices, which ensure that the transition from lip-synced performances to live singing are seamless. 

One of the best parts of the show was the integration of the guests and the audience. Lavina Williams and Robbie Magasiva plugged right into the tone of the show and did not stick out – they commit to their numbers, with great lip-syncing. 

The audience participation segments were a fun pick’n’mix of setups and volunteers: there was a lip sync competition, some strip tease and a frenetic set piece in which audience members had to put together drag looks and personas for other audience members. Most importantly, the volunteers onstage were enthusiastic and onboard for their specific tasks. Badly facilitated audience participation can bring down a show – I have seen too many instances where people either get scared and freeze, or try to screw with the show. Neither scenario eventuates here.

If there is an issue with the show it is that the venue, while visually terrific, felt too large for the scale of the show. The audience participation segments were funny but the rapid-fire makeover in particular was let down by the fact that I was so far away from the stage. In a more intimate setting, it might have had a stronger effect – I think it would be more interesting if the audience were closer to watch the press-ganged make-up artists try to complete their looks against the clock. 

Having the hosts wander through the audience, swapping jokes and drawing volunteers for the show is great, but there were so many tables that it seemed that the hosts were a bit stuck trying to navigate the space. 

Dragon’s Divas Den is a fun night out. Make sure to bring a group of friends, specifically those without stagefright.

Dragon’s Diva Den plays The Civic’s Wintergarden 6 and 13 November, 2020.

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