All my life, I had never attended a musical show, until I experienced the Rent-A-Diva comedic opera performance a few days ago. The show was presented at The Attic Rooftop Bar at Park Inn by Radisson here in Westlands, Nairobi.
Mind you, I had not date for the evening, so I was all there by myself. I arrived a bit too early; the event was scheduled for 7pm but I was there over an hour earlier. The set up was subtle and guests were already streaming in. We were served with delicious refreshments and bitings. As I am a wine lover, I opted for red dry.
The crew would later introduce themselves. The main performers were Doreen Ziegler, Emma Withill and Cody Thomas. Upon inquiring from one of the organizers, I was told that proceeds from the whole musical would go towards charity; that is Opera for School Fees.
Without much delay, the event kicked off. It was Doreen in a soliloquy, posing and reflecting on the path she chose; being a diva. From trying out new outfits to self-proclamations, she came across as very funny. She used the stage perfectly, occasionally going into the crowd to surprise an audience member. Her voice would move from rhetoric monologues to classical crossover singing. Her voice moved the crowd.
Later, as the story of a diva dreaming to reach unprecedented heights gets deeper, she is joined by a ‘threat’, that is, another diva (played by Emma Withill) who has the same vision…to be the ultimate diva. The twists and turns exude some sense of politicking, self righteousness and the ultimate test of a soul; how far are people willing to go to succeed in life? Is it fair to backtrack others, use their vulnerability to our advantage? Is it right to let jealousy take over our sense of humanity?
Witty lines, emotional scenes and some unexpected moments – like when Doreen brandished a gun in character – made the evening memorable.
We burst out laughing at her jokes. At some point, Doreen proposed to someone’s hubby in the crowd! Emma on the other hand was rational, though competitive. The musical score was on point. I was super tired but I did not even blink once. I thoroughly enjoyed the show.
If you wish to attend the show, here are some of the upcoming dates:
17th Feb. 2018, SAT – The German School, Gigiri, 6pm
9th + 10th Mar. 2018, FRI + SAT – Matbronze, Karen, 6:30pm
17th Mar. 2018, SAT – The Tribe Hotel, Gigiri, 7pm
More dates will be announced! be sure to check out their website for more details!
About the cast:
The coloratura soprano Doreen Ziegler was born in Dresden, Germany and studied Music at the University of Wuppertal and Cologne in Germany. She was part of the ensemble of the Theatre of Gummersbach and the Theatre of Hagen, Germany, and took part in various theatre productions of opera, operetta and musical.
In Kenya and Tanzania Doreen Ziegler performed on several concerts with local artists. She played the part of Gretel in the full staged opera “Hansel and Gretel”, performed in Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” and “The Magic Flute”, and sang with the Nairobi Music Society and the Nairobi Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s “Elijah”, Haydn’s “The Seasons”, Händel’s “Messias” and other productions. In 2010 she was introduced as featured musician of the month in the Kenyan magazine “Classics”.
Emma Withill studied Music at the University of Durham, graduating in 2004. She performed as soloist around the UK including Durham Cathedral, The Royal Albert Hall and Westminster Abbey. In Kenya she is Director of Performing Arts at The Banda School, producing The Lion King and Into The Woods. Emma played the role of Killer Queen in We Will Rock You and air hostess Gloria in Boeing Boeing.
Cody Thomas is originally from Lizemores, West Virginia, USA, but has been living in Kenya since 2014. He is an alum of Mount Vernon Nazarene University where he studied Music Education and Vocal Performance. Since moving to Kenya, Cody has been active in the classical music scene as an accompanist, member of Greenwood Singers, and in The Magic Flute, amongst other things. Cody is currently a music teacher at West Nairobi School in Karen, teaching the band and orchestra classes.
The Rent-A-Diva Tour 2018 is sponsored by Bol Pianos, Lufthansa, Allianz and Phoenix Safaris.