Reviews

Just in case you need to see what others think of the group before committing your hard-earned to a ticket, here are some reviews. Click on the reviews to expand them, and they will magically reveal themselves to you by the wonders of technology!


London Evening Standard


Written by Bruce Dessau
Published on Thursday, 5 January 2012
Performance reviewed: London, Charing Cross Theatre, 4th January 2012

After three decades, early Aïdas Adele Anderson and Dillie Keane have been joined by Sarah-Louise Young. As Keane, looking increasingly like a dyspeptic Margaret Rutherford, noted, Young - by nature and name - drastically reduces their average age. This saucy, satirical set should certainly help to reduce the audience’s average age too.

At the end of last night’s lengthy performance the WC queue rivalled the CD queue. One could not help thinking that current fans relate more to a mournful song about departed friends (“lay one place fewer at the table”) than they do to Dillie’s witty ditty about dogging - “a treat for any passers by out jogging”.

Between the maudlin and the mucky there was something for all, from Cabaret-style Germanic to rap, courtesy of P Dillie. The cornier quips were delivered with the perfect mix of nerve and finesse. Take their show’s gloriously fiddly-de airline spoof title track, Cheap Flights, which has bagged eight million YouTube hits. “Gone fungal” as they might put it.

Lyrics are Noël Coward with added audacity. Who else would dare rhyme “Sibelius” with “abject failures”? Their evangelical tribute to Tesco was overheated but their A list-kebabing Bulgarian song cycles were wonderfully concise, a skewering of Tony Blair prompting an earsplitting roar. Aïda can clearly still surprise as well as fascinate.

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So So Gay


Written by Gerard Daniels
Published on Thursday, 22 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - December 2011

Fascinating Aïda are stalwarts of the theatre scene, having been performing to critical acclaim since 1983. Led by Dillie Keane and accompanied by Adele Anderson and Sarah-Louise Young, this trio takes the audience on a leisurely stroll through classy but crass songs, politically poignant numbers and simply hilarious tunes, explaining why these ladies have been held with such adoration by the nation.

With simply a piano positioned centre stage and a couple of chairs, the energy, facial expressions and witty lyrics fill the theatre with ease. The girls draw on their YouTube sensations ‘Cheap Flights‘ which has amassed almost three and half million hits and sees the girls cleverly discussing why the “feck you can’t getting a fecking flight for fecking 50p” and also ‘Dogging‘, in which Keane describes her passion for doing things ‘al fresco’.

Satirically drawing on the debacles of Bush and Blair, the passing of Kim Jong Il, German cabaret and, of course, Katie Price, Fascinating Aïda’s Cheap Flights, despite being midway through a long tour, remains fresh and topical.

Keane, the founding member of the group carries a graceful and professional air about her. Her witty lyrics, facial expressions and genuine love of the job shine through, making her instantly lovable and seemingly well respected by the adoring, sold out audience.

Anderson, who joined the group in 1984, brings a great deal of height and clever cynicism to the show. Her Amazonian stature, bass voice and commitment to character add a great deal to the performance – particularly notable is her performance of the song ‘German Cabaret’.

The newest and youngest member of the group, Young, brings a great deal of energy to the show. Her soprano voice is the perfect compliment to the melodies executed by her peers. Her desire for a ‘One-Night Stand, a joke continually referred to throughout the show, made her seem well connected and instantly resulted in a rapport with the audience.

The Charing Cross Theatre, formerly the New Players Theatre is a perfectly sized venue for such a show. Nestled into the arches below the Charing Cross Station, the thud of the passing trains overhead create the right ambience for a naughty but nice theatrical treat this festive season.

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West End Whingers


Published on Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - December 2011

Really very little we can to add to the unqualified rave we gave to the version of Fascinating Aïda‘s Cheap Flights which we caught in Edinburgh and is now boarding for a brief season at the Charing Cross Theatre.

We may not be able to add much but the satirical singing cabaret trio have. Current line-up Dillie Keane, Adèle Anderson and relative newbie Sarah-Louise Young have worked up an extended version of that show which now comes with extra tunes, an interval but no excess baggage.

And it’s one of those rare occasions where more really does mean more. All their best numbers are safely in place. The usual mix of celebrities, politicians, institutions and trends are held up to acerbic inspection before being skewered in a most deliciously satisfying fashion. Despite having performed some of their older numbers countless times one of the many pleasures is seeing their own reactions to some of the things that come out of their mouths as if saying them for the first time.

To suggest some highlights is not to imply there are any lowlights. But, as ever, we were particularly taken by “One True Religion”, “Leider”, “Down with the Kids”, “Tesco Saves”, “Bored”, their YouTube sensation (now with over 8 million hits) “Cheap Flights” and the Whingers feel no shame in revealing they are extremely partial to “Dogging”.

Then there’s their now classic Bulgarian song cycle which any description would only spoil, but is structured to allow hilarious updating and a sharply observed and also cleverly updated number explaining how to write a best-selling novel.

The only fly in the ointment is the appropriately aeroplane cabin shaped auditorium of the Charing Cross Theatre which dictates that not very many people get to sit near the front. Thankfully the sound is clear a bell and not a word is lost.

We have previously declared our bias, but judging by the reaction of the full house and those we met experiencing FA for the first time there is little need to take our word for it. If you’ve never seen them the real question can only be why?

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remotegoat.co.uk


Written by Aline Waites
Published on Thursday, 15 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - December 2011

One of the most popular items on u tube at the moment is Fascinating Aida’s rendering of the title song in this show - A witty satire on the sales methods of a certain airline - well - cynical sales methods in general. This harmony, comedy group led by the wonderfully lugubrious and laid back Dillie Kean has been entertaining the public with sophisticated satire and music for twenty five years and this sell out show is at the perfect venue for them at Charing Cross (previously the Players).

They are the modern equivalent of the Music hall. Satirical, Intelligent, very rude and very funny. Their depiction of today’s youth in a rap with the chorus of ‘Forever young’ is hilarious and full of acute observation. This is Dillie Kean at her daftest as she has perfected the teenage ‘whatever’ spirit and made it the funniest thing to be seen on this or any stage. Another of her u tube successes is ‘Dogging’ which is an exercise in performing smut with style. But she can also turn on pathos as is proved by her anthem to the friends no longer with us.

Adele Anderson a red haired Amazon who excels in the somewhat athletic German item is no stranger to poignancy either, as she sings of her menage a trois ‘Mr and Mrs and Me’ and the newest and youngest of the trio, Sarah Louise Young, has her own special moment in ‘One night stand’ which she cheekily dedicates to a member of the audience.

Particularly rousing is the Gospel style number as they send their prayers and celebrations to the great god TESCO. And the Bulgarian Song Cycle which consists of snippets of music with short sharp jokey references to political and topical items.

This is a great show for Christmas without a single sentimental mention of Santa Claus or plum puddings and gratuitous shopping. Hurrah for the tunefulness and the Fascination of Aida!

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The Times


Written by Clive Davis
Published on Monday, 12 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

Everyone has an opinion about Ryanair, but you’re unlikely to find a wittier dissection of the Michael O’Leary phenomenon than in the Fascinating Aïda song, which has become a hit on YouTube.Riverdance meets On the Buses in a feast of good-natured Hibernian swearing (if I say the lyrics are not exactly feckless, you may get my drift). However, while Dillie Keane and co do have a kind word for O’Leary at the end of their show, James Corden, Anish Kapoor and Scandinavian crime novels don’t escape so easily, although the satirical blows are dispatched with the sweetest of smiles.

As the ladies declare in their programme: “We’re like human Berocca with a prairie oyster and a couple of Solpadeine thrown in.” This is a feel good show, which engages the brain as well as the funny-bone.

After all these years, Keane and Adèle Anderson still manage to maintain the flow of new songs. The old favourites remain a delight. With its Fosse-style choreography, Lieder mercilessly lampoons lugubrious German cabaret artistes; Anderson’s calculatedly out-of-tune bellowing always hits the mark. The Song Of The Homesick Traveller, with its highland ballad trimmings, is the fruit of countless hours wasted on the road in search of a decent meal.

A new recruit in the shape of Sarah-Louise Young gives the show extra vim. While her predecessor, Liza Pulman, was a very fine performer in her own right, Young’s spikier, sassier persona might well broaden the trio’s fan base beyond its middle-aged core. There were some dull patches in her Edinburgh show, Cabaret Whore, but here she proves how brightly she responds to quality material. Her delivery of a mischievous ditty about a one-night stand is one of the many highlights of a magnificent evening.

Keane, whose piano-playing remains as sprightly and inventive as ever, prompts gales of laughter with merely the raising of a quizzical eyebrow. She gets down with the kids, too, in the group’s delicious send-up of a rap song: our culture’s obsession with yoof provides no end of satirical opportunities.

Directed by Spencer Solomon, the show unfolds on a stark black set. The songs and wordplay nevertheless provide no end of colour. Tesco Saves, that glorious hymn of praise to the supermarket deity, somehow didn’t raise quite as many laughs as it deserved. But the latest additions to the ongoing, bite-sized Bulgarian song cycle throw topical hand-grenades in all directions.

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West End Wendy


Written by West End Wendy
Published on Sunday, 11 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

Last week I saw the Press Night of “Fascinating Aida – Cheap Flights.” I had no idea what to expect from the show having only been told “they’re really funny” about an hour before the show.

Fascinating Aïda is a cabaret style group made up of Dillie Keane (who founded the group), Adele Anderson and Sarah-Louise Young. The show consisted of mostly songs, with a few hilarious anecdotes thrown in for good measure. The songs were all written by members of the group and some were much funnier than others. I particularly enjoyed youtube hit “Cheap Flights” and “Tesco Saves” was another of my favourites. Indeed, the lyric “Jesus saves but Tesco saves you more” had the audience rolling in the aisles! The “Bavarian song cycles” had me howling, particularly the one about James Corden and Katie Price (You have to see the show to hear it!).

It was fantastic to spend an evening with three immensely talented women who didn’t falter for a moment in providing an easy couple of hours of West End entertainment. I particularly enjoyed Sarah-Louise Young’s description of the ArcelorMittal Orbit (In Stratford) as “a pulsating pile on the arse end of east London”.

Fascinating Aïda plays at the Charing Cross Theatre until January 7th. Tickets are £24.50-£29.50 and bookable at the theatre, online or by phone on 020 7907 7075. Get yourself some tickets booked for a show that will leave you giggling every time you remember it!

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Bargain Theatre


Written by Gareth Richardson
Published on Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

Opening with a choreographed ditty ridiculing the taxman and international banking seems a safe bet, unless you decide to include an acronym based on what is often described as the last taboo swear word; these girls don’t hold their punches! What next? Euthanasia? Dogging? Tracey Emin’s pubic hair? Well yes, actually! Those of a sensitive disposition may do well to give this one a wide berth. However, that will mean missing out on some wonderfully comic lyrics and giggles galore. A partnership lasting almost three decades enables Dillie Keane and Adele Anderson to form the backbone of this three woman show. Sarah Louise Young is the equally talented new recruit.

We’re taken around the globe on this ‘Cheap Flights 50p’ budget airline production, as no nation seems to be off limits when it comes to parody. Orientals, Irish, Bulgarians, each take a turn. Of course, they’re always good for a laugh, Volvo and IKEA loving Swedes come in for predictable attention. No West End show is complete at the moment without giving the Germans a poke, the girls do particularly well here to sing beautifully off-key, accompanied by the pianist standing on her stool, bent double, head between legs and still playing! Surely a Eurovision contender for 2012. 

Ever considered using an orangutang as a surrogate mother to save the inconvenience of becoming pregnant yourself? These girls explore the pros and cons in detail. Nothing is sacred, especially religion. My favourite line of the whole evening came in true evangelistic, Sister Act style ”Jesus saves but TESCO saves you more…. God may deliver you but TESCO can deliver too!” Closely followed by the trio’s own version of the ten commandments.  Variety is essential and is certainly provided; hip-hop, rap, even moonwalking are featured. Kate Middleton and Prince Andrew take their turn in the lyrical spotlight, as does the Mittel Orbit and Little Chef. The programme notes use the word ‘random’ in capital letters, I wouldn’t argue.

Crossing Victoria Wood on whiskey with Richard Stilgoe on speed and multiplying by three gives some idea of what to expect. The end result shouldn’t really work, but it does and very well too, attracting a cult loyal fan-base.  Drama and passion this isn’t, a good Christmas tonic it is. Anderson and Keane pen most of the songs themselves, delightfully stretching rhymes for satirical effect. Some lines have you recoiling in shock, others corpsing in hysterics; it matters not, just have a stiff drink beforehand! Fresh-faced Sarah Louise Young hits a vocal high with ‘Let’s Go to a Hotel’. Dillie Keane provides much mirth with a gusto performance on piano, drum and cymbals.  Adele Anderson’s skilled comic delivery is flawlessly evident throughout. This complimentary team keep the smiles coming and entertainment flowing.

One of the best jokes of all is that Fascinating Aida have officially retired, twice! With over twenty five years history, five albums, three videos, two books and a partridge in a pear tree, they are certainly having the last laugh now.

Resurrected, refreshed and renewed. The perfect antidote to pantomime this season.

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Bloomberg


Written by Warwick Thompson
Published on Monday, 12 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

The female musical-cabaret trio Fascinating Aïda has been offering smart satire, tuneful silliness and old-fashioned rudeness since 1983, and still feels as fresh as paint.

The group’s latest show takes their web-viral hit song “Cheap Flights” (8 million hits) as its title, and dishes up an entertaining mix of new songs and old favourites.

There’s a jolly Swiss waltz about taking an aged parent to a euthanasia clinic. There’s a terrific pattersong about a figure-conscious actress who wants children so she hires an orangutan to be her surrogate womb. The rhymes are far too rude to repeat here.

There’s an eye-watering oldsters’ rap, and a needle-sharp number about the financial crisis choreographed in the style of Bob Fosse. There are plenty of bittersweet thoughts on relationships and ageing too.

Peter Cook once referred to “those wonderful Berlin cabarets which did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the outbreak of the second world war.”

Fascinating Aïda may not prevent much either. You’ll howl with laughter as it’s happening though.

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