Spending an hour or so with Chris John means spending time with 40 years of the best vocalists in the business.
The 45-year old entertainer is a talented vocal mimic, with a range from the blue whale-esque Barry White all the way up to a falsetto range that enables him to put across a scarily convincing Bee Gee, complete with convincingly scary disco groin thrusts.
The joking around is generally good-natured, with various sketches designed to showcase the incomprehensibility of rock singers, the way some people simply smile when they sing despite the material, and a rousing Phantom of the Opera, with lyrics rewritten by Chris John of course.
The performer has such an armoury of voices that it’s evident he has the flexibility to refine and redirect his act depending on how the occasion demands it. The Canadian entertainer’s clear talent for characterisation sometimes comes to the fore, but on other occasions the impressions are pretty close to uncanny. And that’s a skill in itself; anyone who can convincingly put across the diverse sounds of Lionel Ritchie, Sammy Davis Jr, Donna Summer, Roy Orbison, Bill Clinton and Robert Plant is worth the time. There’s a table of props but nothing more complex than the odd hat, wig or sunglasses before John shakes himself down to inhabit the mannerisms and vocal quirks of another familiar musician.
Originally from Kingston, Ontario, John has been in the business for 25 years and is a veteran of a dozen USO tours, a series of TV commercials and films, most prominently Tommy Boy in the mid-1990s.
A regular with Canadian performing troupe Stage West, he has also starred in musical revues and comedies such as Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls and Leader of the Pack. His Legends in Concert series has toured Las Vegas frequently. In 2007, he won a gold record for his writing and production of dance music.
“I am really excited to be here; this is my favourite place in the world,” said Mr. John.
Warming up the crowds on several of the dates is Vicky Wheaton, whose stage presence and sense of humour is well-known to Caymanian audiences.
The Chris John show runs at the Harquail Theatre every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday throughout the month, except a Christmas-week appearance on Tuesday, 21 December instead of Christmas Eve. Additional performances on 29, 30 and 31 December. Tickets, at $40, are available at the Harquail Theatre on day of show (when advance tickets may also be purchased) or at www.chrisjohnshow.com