Diane Chorley: Rhythm of Live

Kitsch '80s electronica with perfectly placed patter

★★★
cabaret review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Diane Chorley
Published 06 Aug 2017

Diane Chorley personifies the '80s: Margaret Thatcher hair and pearls; a black blazer with shoulder pads; art deco flashes of colour. The stage is set for an autobiographical TV show—An Audience with Diane Chorley—to introduce us to her album, the eponymous Rhythm of Live. It's a well executed parody.

Chorley smirks at every opportunity—a lip curl when she sings, a mischievous sparkle in her eyes—modelled, it seems, on Frank N. Furter. The whole show is kitsch, from the electronic original songs to the stylised dance moves. The references spoof the decade with a cutting wit: vol-au-vents slung at celebrities; an addiction to Calpol; a backing band called The Buffet who are paid in chicken kievs and half a shandy.

Rhythm of Live is full of addictive disco beats and perfectly timed punch lines, but it all stays on the same level. Despite the fantastically farcical story, there’s no gear change, with the exception of Chorley’s demonic song ‘The Witch’. Green strobes cast Chorley in an eerie light as she runs around in a dishevelled technicolour dreamcoat, attacking bongo drums with fervour. Avant garde, to say the least.

In the end, Chorley returns to the limelight as the face of piccalilli and we are reminded to live in the Rhythm of Live. As the show culminates in a frenzy of organised chaos, we jump to our feet to dance along, caught up in the heady combination of dry ice and synthesised sound.