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Adelaide Fringe 2014

Bel Canto Bowie

DIY Donna

Genre: Musical Theatre

Venue: La Bohème – 36 Grote Street, Adelaide


Low Down

The lives of two Italian village girls change forever when they are presented with a David Bowie record and a questionable creature from God. Little do they know that the path they choose to travel will be as weird and wonderful as Bowie himself… 


The small bar is packed with people and the piano offstage is softly illuminated. A small Christmas tree on the other side with a rustic wooden plaque reads ‘The Woods’. The tiny disco ball hovering above the piano and giant wooden cross hanging proudly over the stage complete the eclectic set up. The church piano player (Alan Braley) bursts onto the scene cursing about girls who do not take church or choir practice or anything seriously. But this gives him time to practice a little musica and warm up his fingers. We are treated to a beautiful rendition of L’Appuntamento. When Maria Maria (Natalie Oliveri) and Pasqualina Maria (Adriana Sturman) wander in giggling, pulling faces, and rolling their eyes, decked out in traditional Italian costumes they get into position for practice—contrary to their bedraggled appearances and carefree manner they have remarkable voices and are clearly classically trained singers.


Oliveri and Sturman are a fantastic pair as they act and sing in harmony—they yearn for something new, something different that will give their lives more meaning. They pray to God for a sign and he delivers it in the form of a David Bowie record. The girls sing the well-known Bowie tunes in their powerful voices accompanied by a weird, indescribable character that appeared with the record and treat the audience to Bowie’s music in their own voices. Unfortunately the girls’ happiness is short-lived; when their parents forbid the ‘devil music’ Maria Maria and Pasqualina decide to find Bowie and get him to help them with their conundrum. The path they travel is filled with Bowie classics and the girls sing them all, adding their own lyrics to some of the songs to appropriate them for the context and setting.


This is a short, but sweet story that’s filled with obscurity, laughter and song—the simple storyline and journey allows the music to remain at the forefront. The rustic props and setting add to the eclectic tone of the story. While the weird, nimble-fingered creature is the only inexplicable character in the performance the other eccentricities and quirkiness can be put down to mere ‘Bowieism.’ Oliveri and Sturman played their roles faultlessly and managed to keep up their Italian guises and poker faces despite some of the ridiculously hilarious jokes and sequence of events.


A show worthy of David Bowie, this was a memorable evening–take your protein pills and put your helmet on for this wild ride into the unexpected and unknown.