Edinburgh Fringe Review #2: Christina Bianco ‘Party of One’

Hello once again, and I’m now onto review number 2 for my time at the Fringe! But firstly, here’s a little bit of narrative. So after I went to see Births, Deaths and Marriages, I then walked around Edinburgh a little bit more, getting myself acclimatised to the surprisingly warm Scottish weather and fully embracing the barmy nature that is the Edinburgh Festival. I can’t stress enough just how wonderful of a time I had at the Fringe, and I definitely want to make this a yearly occurrence, even though I live so far away! I really enjoyed parading up and down the Royal Mile many a time, just to see what shows were happening and what crazy, manic shows were being performed. I also got to see one of my childhood heroes ‘Big Dave’ from Playhouse Disney on one of the Royal Mile stages. I was going to see Get Your Own Back Live, but now I’d seen him on the Royal Mile, I’d saved myself £14. Excellent. (I then used this for 2 more shows so not really saving money…)

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Dave Benson Phillips, 2015 or 1997?

A few hours after seeing Births, Deaths and Marriages, I then met up with people from my university who then showed me how to get to the Spiegeltent in the Assembly Square for Christina Bianco. Now, before I even start reviewing the performance, I need to stress one thing. I genuinely felt inspired after leaving her show, and I don’t remember a show that I’ve ever seen in which my jaw was dropped for so long as a result of listening to someone’s voice (or in this case, voices). Christina Bianco is a mad, mad talent and although she was selling out her run during the Fringe, I’m surprised it did not sell out faster. Thank goodness she’s not got too big JUST yet otherwise it’d have been a struggle, but I’m so glad I got to sit on the front row and just bask in her greatness.

So, a little bit more about Christina Bianco herself. According to her website, Christina is a YouTube sensation (which is very true). She has gained over 21 million views worldwide, and can do a variety of impressions. My personal favourites are Idina Menzel, Celine Dion and Kristin Chenoweth, but she does an excellent Julie Andrews and many, many more. She has also performed in Forbidden Broadway both in the UK and across the pond, and originated the role of Dora the Explorer on the live tour. She did her impression of Dora during her show ‘Party of One’, and it had me in stitches, it was so right. As well as performing with others, she has now taken her act solo, selling out in NYC, the Hippodrome and the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room. However, is she really alone? She’s not really. She has so many different voices in her repertoire that she’s always singing with someone.

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As well as seeing Christina Bianco on stage, we are also introduced to her delightful band, with her piano player Joe Louis Robinson also singing and really getting involved. Also, slight claim to fame, but he went to my school! Who knew that somebody so talented could come out of a comprehensive in my hometown. Nonetheless, it was great seeing him on stage, but I just wish I had a photo from our one show we did together to prove it. Annoyingly, I was a shy little year 7 then…

Anyway, the show was about to start and I was buzzing with excitement! And then, it started. Christina walked on stage in a gorgeous dark blue dress with super high heels on, and looked gorgeous. She’s also tiny, but just because she’s small it does not mean she has a tiny stage presence. Infact, Christina dominated that stage like a true West End or Broadway performer, and her first song had the whole audience in the palm of her hand. She sang this song in her own voice, which is such a treat in itself. But, this isn’t really what the audience were there for. Oh no, we were there to hear her impersonations, and she really did not let us down.

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My seat!

The way in which Christina had created the show was extremely successful. She was telling her life story, in which she was saying about how she became to appreciate herself, and that because she is an only child, she would always sing to herself, spending hours sitting by the radio. Then, she’d begin to impersonate and take on the vocal characteristics of specific singers, developing her own voice as well as how to successfully create others. I think I speak for everyone when I say I’m so glad she did, because Christina really does have a true talent for impersonation. Plus, she was extremely charismatic, and really engaging, particularly with people who were sitting at the front (I still count myself so lucky). When she announced she was going to perform Celine Dion, I whooped and hollered like no tomorrow and then she performed Celine Dion whilst looking into my eyes. Definitely a top memory of the Fringe for me, that was.

Another little highlight was Christina singing in Spanish, as if we weren’t already jealous enough that she sings perfectly in English. “¿Puede cantar con todas las voces de las montañas? ¿Se puede pintar con todos los colores del viento?” That’s Colours of the Wind in Spanish, which she sang to land the role of Dora the Explorer! She even did the awkward pauses famed on the programme. Brilliant, just brilliant.

A rolling feature of the show itself to demonstrate just how talented Christina is was the A-Z of impressions. Featuring so many people such as Edith Piaf, Madonna (for the Queen of Pop, very clever), Bjork and all the way down to Zooey Deschanel, it really set her as the ‘queen’ of impersonations. She is the Madonna of her world, and I’m extremely privileged that I’ve been able to see her live in such an intimate setting.

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This was THE dress.

Christina also sang some Unlikely Interpretations. For example, Julie Andrews sang ‘All About that Bass’ which was a treat, and a real juxtaposition. But, we did get to hear Julie Andrews sing ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ and Adele Dazeem sing Let it Go which was great. In my opinion, Christina is a true gem at what she does because of the way she can convey the nuances of each singer. From Adele to Billie Holliday and everyone in between, it’s the tiny ticks that clearly show what singer she is trying to impersonate. The dips of Idina, the voice changes of Kristin, the bored vocals of Ariana and the one-tone Cheryl, it really brought the characters to life and it truly felt as if Christina was bringing them all into the room. We also got to hear Celine Dion singing ‘My Heart Will Go On’, which is one of my favourite videos that Christina has put on Youtube, and it’s even better in the flesh!

Christina is a true star, a real life Rachel Berry if you will. In fact, why is not Lea Michele not on her repertoire? I’m sure it will be one day. In all honesty, Christina could study anybody’s vocals and be able to impersonate them. All female (and maybe male in the future) should fear Christina. She’ll overtake you all and be the true star of the show!

But, she doesn’t just sing. She can also speak like them normally. Although we only got to hear 2 lines of Christina speaking as Kristin, we were treated to new impersonations such as Drew Barrymore and Bubbles from Absolutely Fabulous. Christina performed these whilst reading Barbra Streisand’s interior design book (because who doesn’t have one of their own that they’ve created eh?) and it was great. So great. I think I’ve run out of superlatives to fully discuss just how fab Christina is that I think this review has to end there.

In terms of a reviewing emoji, I’m giving Christina the microphone emoji. Pretty standard, an excellent singer, and definitely one of the best singers I’ve ever heard in my life. Although she’s no longer at the Fringe for 2015, buy tickets for her future shows here: http://www.hippodromecasino.com/whatson/christina-bianco-party-of-one-2/

I’ll also leave you with this to revel in her wonderfulness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peiaKErSYgs

Enjoy,

Sophie x

Why don’t you check out my last review, where I saw Births, Deaths and Marriages, and my next review of Witch the Musical?  

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