Next generation of female impersonators thrills Kincardine crowd

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Bryan Greenwood, otherwise known as Divinesque, is an original member of the Great Imposters and brought his new group of female impersonators, Great Imposters – New Generation, to Kincardine last weekend. (Barb McKay photo)

 

By Barb McKay

 

A troupe of female impersonators received such a warm reception at their show in Kincardine on Friday they hope to return for an encore performance next year.

 

The Great Imposters – New Generation performed a spectacular cabaret-style show at the Best Western Plus Governor’s Inn filled with song, dance and edgy comedy. The one-night-only performance raised money for Kincardine Pride and the Church Street Artists’ Co-op in Toronto.

 

The cast of the New Generation is led by the legendary Bryan Greenwood, otherwise known as Divinesque, who is one of the few remaining original members of The Great Imposters, Canada’s most renowned group of female impersonators.

 

Greenwood, who is a 30-year veteran of show business, having trained under Great Imposters founders Michelle DuBarry and Rusty Ryan, is no stranger to Kincardine, having life-long friends in Point Clark and Port Elgin. Earlier this year, he was invited to take part in a Kincardine Pride fundraiser at Hawg’s Breath, which was a big success. Kincardine Pride president Fort Papalia asked him to return for another event.

 

The idea to bring back the Great Imposters came a year earlier when Greenwood was involved in a Toronto Pride event. He had been asked to pull together a group of female impersonators together for a show.

 

“We just showed up and did it,” he said.

 

It was very well received and a friend got in touch to see if the group would perform a fundraising show for the Legion in Bobcaygen.

 

“We called ourselves the Great Pretenders,” Greenwood said. “I thought, after the show, we have something here. We should take this on the road.”

 

He contacted his mentor Russell Alldread (Michelle DuBarry) to run the idea by him.

 

“She is my drag mother,” Greenwood said. “That is what we call our mentors. I said, ‘mama, do you mind if I revive the Great Imposters as a new group?”

 

Alldread gave his blessing and after Greenwood reached out to fellow performers in the community, the New Generation was born. The Kincardine show was one of the group’s first performances. The cast performed impressions of Anne Murray, Adele, Celine Dion, Dolly Parton, Cher and Reba McIntyre, as well as their own monikers.

 

“We have a good cast and we are still building,” Greenwood said.

 

The group features Andrew Pelrine, who goes by Bunni Lapin, Matthew Vreeland, who goes by Rachael Temptation, and Rick Morton, who goes by Teran Blake. Individually, “the girls” are accomplished performers who have toured throughout North America.

 

“Between the four of us we have over 60 years of experience,” Pelrine said.

 

He said the four get together regularly to work on material for their shows.

 

“When you have inspiring minds like these people do and you laugh and joke you can come up with great content,” Pelrine said.

 

Each of the New Generation cast members have regular day jobs (Vreeland works as a chef and Pelrine works with a charity), but they live for their moments on stage.

 

“It’s great waking up and saying, ‘I’m doing what I love for work,’” Pelrine said.

 

Greenwood, brings a wealth of experience from his long career as a dance teacher, music teacher, producer, actor and choreographer. He is also a talented jewellery designer who creates his own pieces for his costumes. On Friday, Greenwood’s Swarovski crystal jewellery was sold to raise funds for Kincardine Pride and the Church Street Artists’ Co-op.

 

The Kincardine show was a big success, selling out almost immediately. Greenwood hopes to bring the Great Imposters – New Generation back next spring or summer for a performance.