Divamatic | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader


Divamatic, Free Associates, at the Ivanhoe Theater. The Free Associates are entering new territory this month with a festival of original works called "Strut & Fret." Opening the festival last Friday was Divamatic, a campy improv show in which the audience helps create the history of three lounge divas, making up titles to songs the divas then sing. Conceived and directed by artistic director Mark Gagne, Divamatic is full of comic potential.

Creating a rich character in a few minutes and writing funny lyrics for some very strange titles takes a certain sharpness. All three divas--Susan Gaspar, Adrienne Smith, and Nancy Howland Walker--give it their best shot, though Gaspar, playing a bitter, burnt-out songstress from Brooklyn, is the strongest. Some moments--as when the divas do a rendition of a real torch song--don't work particularly well, and the three seemed more at ease alone than together onstage.

--Gabrielle S. Kaplan

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