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The Crack Magazine


Fascinating Aida at Theatre Royal

Watching Fascinating Aida is like suddenly meeting up, at some otherwise unexciting family event, with that sharp-tongued, sharp-witted aunt who your more staid relatives consider a mite too outspoken but whose caustic, sweary humour suddenly lifts everything to a fresh level of hilarious candour – only here it’s times three, and with music (plus awfully nice chap as musical accompanist.) Founder of the trio is Dillie Keane, whose formidable talent for creative profanity shines a flashlight beam on anything worth deriding (she’s also a long-term climate catastrophist with a keen eye on saving the planet.) The contrasting voices and stage presences of Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman create a brilliantly nuanced cabaret act which unashamedly goes for the jugular when it comes to political ineptitude or celebrity nonsense but retains a collusive warmth of involvement with its pithy summings up of the outrages we could never express so well. Also it’s bloody hilarious. There were the “classics” of their repertoire, “Cheap Flights” and “Dogging” (which I note has now been shorn of its reference to Russell Brand) but also some swift, spiked thrusts at the news of the day and even a moving. meditative threnody about the pain of leaving an old home. The staging may look simple, but it’s amazing what their small scale dance routines add (especially in the wonderful “Leider”, sung with a rich German accent in a Brechtian/Cabaret mode.) A number called “Tesco Saves” may not sound like fun but the wildly enthusiastic audience was with them every step of the way. This is musical satire of undiminished freshness, a laugh a line but with a clear-sighted edge to it.

Gail-Nina Anderson