Celebrities give thumbs up to send-ups
Entertainer Ennio's hilarious takes on the rich and famous delight audiences, and the targets of his genial satire are even more amused
IT IS CLEAR from year after year of sold-out performances that Ennio is popular with the people, but what do the celebrities themselves think of his takes on their personalities?
According to Ennio, they all love him - except perhaps one.
Mother and daughter Sharon and Kelly Osbourne saw the show and 'loved' Ennio's Snow White transformation into Ozzie Osbourne. They found him instantly recognisable as both husband and father, he said.
Liza Minnelli is an old favourite, and Ennio always turns to her as the last character of the night. He recalled Minnelli appearing in his dressing room after a show to tell him how much she had enjoyed the performance and his Liza.
'Many celebrities have seen the show and are always very enthusiastic,' the artist said.
Ennio has also performed alongside a number of his characters, an experience that can sometimes be unnerving. 'I was on stage with Tina Turner and she was singing Simply The Best, and I lip-synched with her and danced like her but in my Mona Lisa costume,' Ennio recalled. 'She thought I was a nut, and afterwards told me it was hard to concentrate. She thought it was so funny.'
Another favourite is Nancy Sinatra, who was flattered by his take on her 1960s' hit, These Boots Are Made for Walkin'. His Nancy is all about the signature white go-go boots, which make up almost two-thirds of the costume. 'Boy George is another. I was on a television show in England a few years ago and he was the presenter. He said he enjoyed my performance of him very much,' Ennio enthused.
Entertaining at private parties brings him closer to the people he portrays. He performed twice for Sir Elton John and once for the Dutch Royal family at the birthday celebration for Queen Beatrix. 'When I perform in front of royalty, the organisers prefer I don't do what they consider the very wild characters, but I think the royals would love them,' Ennio said.
He said he was not allowed to do his impersonation of the Queen singing the National Anthem when the Queen was in the theatre.
'Not because she wouldn't like it, but because it would be a complicated royal protocol dilemma,' he said.
Singer Celine Dion, meanwhile, is another story.
'Nobody has reacted in a negative way, but Celine Dion has never seen the show. Maybe she doesn't like it, maybe she does. Who knows,' said Ennio, clearly not caring.
He might relish it if she did take offence, for he is quoted as saying: 'Everything about her, from her voice to her gestures, is so fake.'
He has mentioned his dislike of Dion in several interviews, implying there was more to his Dion folding into the famous ship that went down than just the obvious reference to the theme song from the film Titanic.
Some reviewers see a powerful satirist and social critic when Ennio gets up to perform.
A review of his Edinburgh show in The Scotsman newspaper last year said the entertainer's Eminem morphing into Gloria Gaynor was 'a gay man's witty response to the rapper's homophobia'.
And, an article from The Independent on Ennio's website said satire was close to the surface in the entire show and was all the more cutting for being disguised as light-hearted entertainment.