Under the influence: Liza on an E

Australian performer Trevor Ashley makes his West End debut this week in his show Liza (on an E) at the Vaudeville Theatre. What could be just another pub drag tribute act is given a lift by an energetic performance, some great singing and classy big band under the music direction of George Dyer.

Ashley created the role of Miss Understanding in the original Australian production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and he has performed a variety of cabaret shows. But here the focus is on Liza Minnelli, which even though he doesn't quite look like Liza (more like a character from Little Britain perhaps), he manages to successfully channel her mannerisms and quirks. Even if you don't know her history as a performer (such as yes she really did do a duet with Donna Summer in the eighties) he covers her career with a variety of songs that makes for an evening that is is a lot of fun.

The songs were either recreations of songs Minnelli has made famous throughout her career, or slight modifications (written with Ashley's collaborator Dean Bryant) that predictably reference drugs, alcohol or marrying gay men. If you have seen Minnelli perform you might think it is not quite the same thing, but equally at times you will forget it is a bloke up there... People were having a hell of a time with the antics and great music.

It's on at the Vaudeville Theatre until Saturday and look for offers online. Hopefully we will be seeing more of Trevor Ashley either in the West End or on the Cabaret scene in future.

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