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Divas bring the house down at Joburg Theatre


The local songstresses who performed in the Divas Supreme show in the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein to mark the 60th anniversary of National Women’s Month lived up to their billing.

As Joburg City Theatres CEO Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema had earlier promised, Tia Herman, Leo Ramasimong, Tracy-Lee Oliver, Elizca Coetzer and Marianthe Panas had audiences eating out of the palms of their hands – from the day the show started on Thursday August 11 up to Sunday August 14.

The five had the near-capacity venue enthralled by their renditions of some of the world and Mzansi’s most affirming songs for and about women. Coming as it did during Women’s Month, Divas Supreme was the ultimate tribute to South Africa’s women and the five young women did justice with the accolades. The costumes were equally dazzling.

Divided into act one and act two, all the four shows got off to a rousing start with the five performing a short Samba-inspired medley. Dressed in long, elegant black chiffons and blinged gowns and equally sparkly stilettos, they showed their intent early that they were there to celebrate fabulous women of song.

With an 11-piece band in the background, former Idols Top 10 finalist Ramasimong stepped forward to give a powerful rendition of Etta James’s Something’s Gotta Hold of Me with the rest of the group joining in on I’d Rather Go Blind. They followed that up with all-time favourite From a Distance and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. But it was Aretha Franklin’s Respect and Natural Woman that got the crowd on its feet, singing along loudly.

Barbara Streisand’s hits The Way We Were and Somewhere medley; Chaka Khan’s I’m Every Woman and Through the Fire were also very well received. One Day I will Fly Away and Almaz by Randy Crawford made way for Diana Ross’s I’m Coming Home/Upside Home and Do You Know Where You are Going?

The divas rounded off act one with a Donna Summer medley that included hits such as No More Tears, Enough is Enough, Bad Girls, Hot Stuff and Last Dance. But it was the South African medley of Mzansi’s divas that got the audience on its feet at the start of act two. Brenda Fassie, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Miriam Makeba and Mango Groove were all honoured in the most sensational way with all-time favourites being belted out to appreciative audiences.

Pata Pata rolled into the Click Song, Vulindlela and Too Late for Mama. Oliver’s performance of Vulindlela was amazing. Umqombothi, Motherland, Dance Some More and Mango Groove’s Special Star rounded off the medley. Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Adele, Christina Aguilera and Amy Winehouse were, like the other divas before them, superbly represented. The crowds lapped it up throughout, with some asking for more when the curtain came down.

The dynamic 11-piece band, led by music director Llewellyn George, complemented the five divas’ performances so well. Produced by the Joburg City Theatres in collaboration with The CoLab Network, the show was directed by Timothy le Roux.