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ENTERTAINMENT: Trevor tackles your favourites
Given he’s made his name with killer impersonations of divas from Liza to Gaga and everyone in between, Trevor Ashley was something of a surprise choice to play the pompous Monsieur Thenardie in the new Australian staging of Les Miserables, debuting in Melbourne next year.
We spoke to a slightly worse-for-wear Ashley the morning after the cast announcement party.
“It’s so nice to play a man for a change. it certainly wasn’t what I expected when I was a kid, to never play men, so it’s nice to be in a situation where I get to play a dark, male role – people will get to see me in a very different way,” he told the Star Observer.
“It was a great audition process – having a casting team from overseas meant I could start with a clean slate. A normal casting director from Australia would probably never think to put me in that part.”
Before Les Mis, though, Ashley will frock up once more for a return performance of his latest all-diva revue Starstruck at the Star Event Centre on November 8. Unlike his previous show I’m Every Woman, Starstruck is a concert of two halves: the opening act will see Ashley perform a selection of his own ‘greatest hits’ – songs from Hairspray: The Musical and other show’s he’s appeared in.
“In the second half, you get all the divas. I wanted to give them new numbers this time around, so Shirley Bassey does Skyfall, because she’s pissed off Adele sang the Bond theme. And after all the rumours that Liza Minnelli’s going to be doing Sunset Boulevard the movie, Liza gets to do her Norma Desmond. Plus there are some more expected numbers, like Bette Midler doing The Rose or Tina doing Proud Mary,” he said.
Fans can also expect appearances from the likes of Celine Dion and Madonna, yet more additions to Ashley’s canon of spot-on impersonations of some of music’s most fabulous women. Does his knack for mimicry come as easily as he makes it seem?
“The vocal is the hardest bit,” he admitted.
“Shirley Bassey comes really easily to me, whereas Cher is very hard to lock in. But because I’ve been doing so many of them for many years, going back to numbers at the Imperial, most of them do come quite naturally. There’s some people I’ll never impersonate because I just don’t have that voice – people like Mariah Carey and Barbra Streisand. I try and stick to the people I know I can nail.”
Ashley wrote Starstruck with two longtime friends, Phil Scott and Gretel Killeen – a wickedly funny trio, so expect plenty of ribald witticisms sprinkled throughout the show.
“I’m so lucky to get to collaborate with people like those two, who are so clever and so funny. I prefer to collaborate, because I’m funnier when I’m trying to impress them,” he chuckled.
INFO: Trevor Ashley in Starstruck, 8pm Friday November 8, Star Event Centre. Tickets through Ticketek.