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Arts preview: fur will fly as female malice rules in Battle of the Divas

Kylie Knott

 

BATTLE OF THE DIVAS
Fringe Club

 

"I wanted to create a playground where women can drop the social pleasantries and really go for it on stage - to really have some fun," says Heidi Mak about her show, Battle of the Divas. "We play into the hilarious dramas and uproar between women who strive to be the number one, the queen of queens, the diva of all divas."

With a theme of "female malice", audiences can expect a riot. "There will be no violence - we're still ladies - but the audience can expect the fur to fly from the very start. We're not hiding it."

Mak says the three shows at the Fringe Underground will push the boundaries: "The format gives the divas freedom to be who they are, pushing them out of their comfort zones."

The music will be varied, too. "Between the four of us, we'll be covering numbers from musicals such as Rent and Company, as well as jazz, indie rock, and classic pop. We have duets, we banter, we have physical comedy, we even have a group cabaret dance number. I'm very happy with our programme, even if it was scripted in less than two weeks."

Mak, who was born in Britain and grew up in New York, is a writer, jazz vocalist and mezzo-soprano, classical pianist, lyricist, music arranger, and educator. She has music in her blood, as she's the daughter of an Italian/German opera tenor.

For this show she will be joined on stage by British trio Alice McKay, Andrea Nodroum and Erin McHugh. "They all happen to be British girls, and I played that fact into the show."

Mak says each performer has been asked to define their inner diva, and find songs they love that best represent their own diva's personality.

"The girls gave me a story about their divas, then I scripted the show around these characters, and my own. I've set some boundaries as to the styles and presentation, and the storyline is fixed. But the audience will definitely vote for their favourite diva by the end," she says.

"The winner might be different each night, depending on the audience. It's a bit like So You Think You Can Dance, but with colour cards instead of phoning in.

"People have asked me, 'Why are you letting the audience vote? Aren't you afraid someone else's gonna win? It's your show'. Yeah, it's true, but I decided I'd let the audience have their say. I'm not sure if I'll get jealous if someone else wins … I still might.

"But the ladies sharing the stage with me are great team players," she says. "They have been totally supportive about the endings I've bounced around. I live for the laughter and applause, and the main idea is to put on a great show."

kylie.knott@scmp.com

 

Fringe Underground, Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, February 27-March 1, 7.45pm, HK$250 HKTicketing. Inquiries: 2521 7251

 

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