Wilma’s Rating [rating=4]
Velma Celli is the alter-ego of west end performer Ian Stroughair who first took a liking to wearing women’s clothing while preparing for the role of Mary Sunshine in the west end production of Chicago the Musical. Ian has also played roles in Fame and Cats and is about to embark on the UK tour of Rent In Concert alongside Kerry Ellis and Rory Taylor.
For one night only, Velma Celli took over the Matcham Room in the Hippodrome Casino, Leicester Square (one of the west ends hottest cabaret venues) to perform some of her favourite songs. The obligatory Chicago number ‘All That Jazz’, as well as a cleverly re-written version of ‘Roxie’, aptly changed to ‘Velma’ with the hilariously catty line ‘Kerry Ellis will shit I know, To see her name get billed below, Velma Celli’. Alongside musical theatre songs from Rent (where Velma sang both the male and female parts as two characters) the show also consisted of well known pop songs from Jessie J, Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Adele. Some great arrangements of these
songs and the ability to ‘mash them up’ (I think that’s what the kids say) gave a fresh and exciting feel to them.
Velma Celli is not your typical drag act. You won’t see this fiery red head performing in a seedy gay bar (not officially anyway), this girl has class and the Hippodrome was the perfect setting for a performance of this caliber. If you love musical theatre and want a fun night out then Velma Celli is well worth the trip (just keep hold of your wine as she is partial to a few sips from unsuspecting audience members).
Photography by Darren Bell.