Photo: Danny Kaan

We first went to check out DIVA: Live From Hell! when it made its UK debut at the Turbine Theatre in Battersea back in 2022 and had a lot of fun, describing it as “a devilish delight”. That same production has been resurrected two years later at the new King’s Head Theatre in Islington, just around the corner from the original location of the iconic north London pub theatre, ahead of a run at this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

A loose retelling of All About Eve, the show sees Luke Bayer return as Desmond Channing – based on Bette Davis’ iconic Margo Channing. The premise is that Desmond is performing at a cabaret club in Hell, telling the audience about the events which led to his untimely death. Cue 75 minutes of dramatic twists and turns as we discover why Desmond earned the title of ‘diva’ and how he ended up in Hell.

The production is largely the same as the version we saw previously, so unsurprisingly we had a really great night once again. Bayer is a talented performer, filling the stage with an array of entertaining characters (most notably straight theatre bro Evan, who is hilarious), and easily handling some pretty technically demanding songs. He’s supported by a tight three piece band which sounds great in the space. Some of the songs are really enjoyable; while some are more memorable than others, Bayer sells each and every one for all its worth.

We once again had a lot of fun with DIVA: Live From Hell! – it’s a high-camp new show full of humour, and it knows its audience too – there are lots of amusing little references in there for musical theatre aficionados (and plenty for the more casual theatre fans too). It’s playing at The King’s Head Theatre until 29th June; this will then be followed by a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival during August.

GAY TIMES gives Diva: Live From Hell! – 4/5

More information can be found here.