From Barbara to Bette, Cher to Dolly, Patsy to Madonna, Lady Gaga to Liza, a 41-year-old East Vancouver woman who's performing at Cascades Casino this weekend can impersonate them all and quite convincingly
Bonnie Kilroe is bringing her show called Divas: Vegas Meets Vaudeville back to Langley on Saturday, and show organizer Rob Warwick vows it's going to be "lots o' laughs."
"A one-woman tour de force, Bonnie and her divas will make your head spin," he said.
Kilroe artfully portrays the divas the audience know and love. She looks, acts, sounds, and sings like the stars she re-creates, and she's been strutting her stuff at cabarets, convention centres, cruise ships, and casinos for more than 14 years.
"I suppose it started with the family dinner table, impersonating a relative," Kilroe told the Langley Advance.
"I've been an entertainer since I left high school, started with amateur theatre. Singing telegrams taught me the most important tools necessary in the business - how to enter onto any stage (including very dry factories, lawyer offices, or restaurants) and how to bring the energy. It taught me to think on my feet and to improvise," she elaborated.
Next up was dinner theatre, which helped the aspiring entertainer solidify some celebrity impressions - including Patsy Cline, Barbra Streisand, and Dolly Parton,
Admittedly, the one-woman show wasn't what Kilroe expected when she set out to become an entertainer.
"My show grew out of being tired of waiting for the phone to ring when I was in film and television," Kilroe said.
She first took to the cruise ships in 1998, and said that really became the impetus for her show that has been growing - however unexpectedly - ever since.
"It was a wonderful discovery for me as it is truly an expression of who I am," she said.
"When I started building this show, I used second-hand clothes, cheap wigs, and cassette tapes with bad karaoke tracks," Kilroe recalled.
"I played in old legions and small bars, not knowing how I would be received. I moved on to golf clubs and an occasional company event. Each few months that went by, I would upgrade in costume and equipment," she said.
"I am very proud of this show and how it has evolved."
Despite a few acting gigs through the years, including a re-occurring role on Stargate Universe, she's now chosen to focus all of her energy and time on the one-woman shows.
And never content with the status quo, Kilroe is constantly seeking new ways to thrill and delight her audiences, offering an array of imperssonation shows including a dedicated Patsy Cline tribute - which she's brought to Cascades before - as well as a rock chick show like the one she did earlier this month in Vancovuer featuring Katie Perry, Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Blondie, Cher, and Tina Turner.
Asked what's new in her Divas show, Kilroe said she's been adding a few new characters, including Sharon Osbourne, Celine Dion "and well, come on-
I have to leave some surprises," she said, admit-ting to adding a couple "fabulous" new
costumes for Dolly and Cher.
"I want to stress that this is a night of comedy and music," Kilroe said. "I love to push a little bit of boundaries and be a bit ridiculous. I will present some characters as authentic, but most I will poke as much fun as possible!"
"Natural comedic timing, versatile vocals, and a striking appearance result in a mesmerizing show that will dazzle the senses," Warwick said of Kilroe's show, noting she's often applauded for her crowd interaction.
In fact, audience participation is encouraged and promises to feed the hilarity of the experience. And Kilroe might be expected to turn up the heat a little more this weekend, since friends and family from Langley are expected to be in attendance.
The show is being held Saturday, June 16, at Cascades Casino, 20393 Fraser Hwy. Tickets are $25 from the casino's guest services or at www. ticketweb.ca.