Reviewer: Jonathan Baz
With 30 years performing and touring behind them, Dillie Keane’s Fascinating Aida troupe delivered an accomplished one night only performance to a packed house in Richmond as their current UK tour winds to an end. The current line up of the trio comprises fellow veteran performer Adele Anderson who co–writes with Keane, together with younger soprano Liza Pulman.
Keane and Anderson have brilliant minds, and their lyrics are frequently incisive. With a routine that mocks youth, gays, paedophiles, men, women and Dignitas, the act contains something to offend everyone. That their rhymes can nonetheless be frequently anticipated is a modest disappointment, though a spoof rap that includes “ I may not be hip…but I got my own hips” was one of the evening’s moments of genuine humour. While politicians come in for an expected battering it is a sad reflection that notwithstanding the intellectual firepower of these women, the biggest laughs of the night were for a filthy song about tax avoidance, Companies Using Nifty Tax Schemes ( the initials, geddit?) and for another number entitled and about, Dogging ( google it). Clearly, however talented the performer, knob-gags and smug-smut are what the fans crave. Is this a reflection of these “all-licensed fools” or of the British audience? The answer is probably both. Their by now well-known routine, Cheap Flights, a Riverdance inspired criticism of the likes of Ryanair, was witty in both lyric and dance, though a later piece with cod Bob Fosse Cabaret-inspired choreography that made fun of the Germans, was shallow. In a moment of serious reflection, towards the end of act 2, Lay One Less Place At The Table was a wistful observation on the loss of dear ones as the years pass. Included among such ribaldry however, the song comes across as more mawkish than the performers would have intended. A penultimate number suggesting a move to New Zealand to avoid world destruction and global terror was quite simply awful and seemed an odd choice to be part of a closing routine.
The three women excel as performers. Word perfect and with excellent sound and lighting, they are exemplary in their commitment to touring with outstanding technical standards. Their routines are skilfully planned and executed, wittily directed and aside from a momentary crotch revealing wardrobe malfunction by Miss Anderson, fun to watch. Evidently adored by their fans and notwithstanding their imperfections, Fascinating Aida remain a pillar of Britain’s comic establishment.