Art and Stage
CBS Canterbury Arena on Tuesday, October 16.
Reviewed by Andrew Paul-Wood
What more could possibly be said about Her Diva-ness, the First Lady of Musical Theatre, Elaine Paige? She is legend, and despite having trod the boards for 42 years, she still very much has the pipes, the moves, the elegant glamour - and the frocks and the lighting to boot.
Would Andrew Lloyd Webber be sitting in the House of Lords now if Paige hadn't made so many of his musicals shine with her lent lustre?
Shall we throw around a few much overused words? Yes, absolutely: Fabulous! Iconic! Breathtaking! All of them strictly applicable with this reviewer being transported as the glorious Paige lit up the CBS Arena with that thing one so very rarely sees and hears in younger performers these days: talent. And in this case it's fully matured talent.
In this Paige was ably supported by Canterbury singer and actor Nic Kyle, no mean warbler himself as demonstrated by his number from Jesus Christ Superstar.
All of the spine-tingling standards, classics and hits were there, from Evita, Sunset Boulevard, Chess, Piaf, some jazz, and even Memories from Cats.
I loathe Cats, it's the execrable musical that wouldn't die, and ever since Streisand butchered Memories the song makes me nauseous, but when Paige sings it I stand and applaud wildly with the rest, tears streaming down my cheeks.
The woman is the essential performer nonpareil and all the way through the audience never once left the palm of her hand, even when the Diva was battling against an excess of dry ice. Not one earthquake-related thought entered my mind the entire time - which is saying something in Shakey Town.
We were also thrilled by a surprise appearance from a choir of NASDA students invited by Paige.
What a wonderful gift to Christchurch - one of only two showings in the whole country along with Hamilton.
What an incredible once or twice in a lifetime privilege it is to see the art of one who may genuinely be called a star - a supernova among stars. It was a magical night.
- © Fairfax NZ News