[Return of the Divas]
Back from their self-imposed hiatus Deni$ and Tyla grace New Zealand’s stage once again dropping bangers and truths for audiences at the Basement Theatre. Frith Horan and Kate McGill are stepping back into the shoes of this problematic pop-duo to rekindle their relationship with their fans after an ego-fueled mistake at Coachella destroyed their careers nine years ago. Last year the two earned themselves a Hackman award for Best Entrance in 2015, and as you stand crowded in the basement bar, you can see why. This entrance is nothing less than self indulgent and spectacular, and exactly what you’d expect.
Both Horan and McGill nail their characters, completely embodying Deni$ and Tyla from start to finish, never breaking for a second, and McGill transforms what could have been a two-dimensional caricature into something a lot more substantial. The accent work is an endearing and hilarious poke at the uniqueness of kiwi accents that keeps the audience giggling the whole show. Their ability to keep us chortling is a clear indication that both Horan and McGill know their audiences well, and can deliver what they want.
Having never seen this duo before myself the songs were completely fresh and the “showcasing of the past” element was a tad lost (Editor’s Note: The songs are a combination of repeats from their debut show last year, and new hits), however, Deni$ and Tyla virgin or not, the songs are damn catchy and clever, and only improved by the addition of Tyla’s adoptive daughters who make up “Spice Rack”. These four ladies spend the show backing up the main act with poker-faced coolness, but watch out, it isn’t long before they attempt to steal the show.
Since the show is heavily centered around the music it doesn’t leave much wiggle room for a strong storyline, and its fails to set up enough stakes for the overall payout for the climax of the show. It seems the creators haven’t particularly figured out what the show wants to be yet. In a blog interview with Jonty (The Basement Theatre Blog) both Horan and McGill say the show is about “Tall Poppy Syndrome”, however, the story simply doesn’t deliver this message. Instead we get a concert gone wrong vibe that lacks the heart to carry it through until the end. Luckily Horan and McGill’s strong performances still manage to save the climax from falling on its face and the audience leave feeling upbeat and energised. The Better Best Album Party Anyone Has Been Two is a total laugh-a-minute shindig and I defy anyone who doesn’t crack a smirk during this riot of a show.
The Better Best Album Party Anyone Has Been Two played at The Basement 13-17 Sept.