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:: Connie & Carla

Connie and Carla is where Some Like it Hot meets Pricilla, Queen of the Desert. It is feathery and flamboyant gender-swapping fun with more sequins than a jazz ballet concert and all the big show-tunes. Written by Nia Vardalos, who also stars as Connie, it has her ‘big fat’ stamp all over it. Not as hilarious as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but Connie and Carla is packed with huge characters and energy to spare.
From humble beginnings, aspiring cabaret singers Connie and Carla (Nia Vardalos and Toni Collette) have worked their way up to…well, an equally humble career as cheesy singers in an airport transit lounge. Late one night after the show, they witness a murder and must run for their lives. Narrowly escaping the gangsters pursuit, they realise they have to leave town immediately or be unpleasantly silenced. They retreat into hiding in the last place the gangsters would look for them. A place with no musical culture at all - Los Angeles.

Strapped for cash, the girls kill two birds with one stone by posing as men in drag show. Other drag queens, such as the duo Peaches and N’Cream, admire their wonderful voices and welcome them to the stage without hesitation. Their act is a hit, and Connie and Carla are finally the fabulous stars they always dreamed they’d be. Yet, as time goes on they find it increasingly difficult to keep their identities a secret from their new friends. To complicate matters further, Connie develops a hopeless crush on conservative straight guy, Jeff (David Duchovny), who is still coming to terms with men dressed as women, let alone women, dressed as men, dressed as women.

Bold, colourful musical numbers compensate for some exaggerated and predictable gags. The elaborate costumes and make-up for these scenes deserve special mention for the sheer magnitude of the task- over 150 wigs and hours of make-up artistry.

In the end though, Connie and Carla (or Vardalos and Collette) really do steal the show with voices that will surprise many fans. Both have worked in musical theatre in the distant past and have the voices and the moves to prove it. Add to this Vardalos’s clowning and Collette’s naturalness, even in this outrageous tale, and it’s impossible not to like Connie and Carla, at least a little.

You can read an interview with Toni Collette here