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!


The Public Reviews


Written by Leon Paul
Published on Thursday, 8 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

After nearly thirty years on the road, Dillie Keane & Adele Anderson have accepted a new member of Fascinating Aida into the fold. Apparently halving the average age on stage in the process, Sarah Louise Young joins them to fill the third pair of shoes for the west end run of this phenomenal show.

Whichever buffoon said that women aren’t funny need to go & see this show. It’s an absolute triumph of musical comedy. The cast write a large proportion of the material, which is evident with the inclusion of a quickly penned song regarding Jeremy Clarkson’s joke on the One Show regarding last week’s union strikes, not to mention songs about modern ‘yoof’ culture, Companies Using Nifty Taxation Systems, global economics, religion, promiscuity, adultery as well as ‘Cheap Flights’ their YouTube smash hit (currently standing at roughly 8 million views). ‘Dogging’ – the name of another brilliantly funny song can also be found on the aforementioned site – although do be careful putting that into google!

Dillie Keane’s comic timing is impeccable; her flexibility (as noted in her programme biography) is also demonstrated masterfully as well as accompanying practically the whole show on piano, with the occasional use of a bass drum or cymbal she is a wonder to behold. Adele Anderson’s performance is wonderful. She glides around the stage with grace & poise, striking yoga-like poses whilst continuing to not only sing, but articulate the sophisticated lyrics with expert diction. Sarah Louise Young is a brilliant addition to the cast & although she occasionally lacks the lightness of touch so expertly demonstrated by Keane & Anderson she more than makes up for it with the rest of her performance.

There were countless times throughout the performance when I was utterly breathless from laughter, wiping the tears from my face; but there was also a moment of pathos as Dillie Keane sang a beautiful song about absent friends that left the theatre in a hushed silence as a moment’s thought was given to those who are no longer here. The mood didn’t stay somber for long, but it was a skillful transition into & out of the song, executed skillfully by Ms Keane.

As a very frequent visitor to the theatre, it’s rare to be truly impressed by the performances on stage, but Fascinating Aida is a lively, current, quick witted, fast paced, urbane, eloquent meander through everyday life. If you enjoy witty & charming cabaret go & see this show, you really won’t be disappointed!

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fourthwall magazine


Written by JBR
Published on Thursday, 8 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

Like a Weimar Republic cabaret fused with a slightly squiffy Grandmother at Christmas, an evening in the company of Fascinating Aïda is like slipping on a comfortable pair of slippers to discover razor blades in the lining.  And for that, let us be grateful.  In these days of anodyne talent shows and bland reality TV dramas, Fascinating Aïda have lost none of their satirical bite over the years.  They remain as sharp, acerbic and foul mouthed as ever.  The first, of many, references to female genitalia comes just two minutes into the show, and the remainder of the evening flies giddily past in a hail of political satire, celebrity puncturing and side-splitting mirth.

The lugubrious tones of Dillie Keane have always proved a delicious counterpoint to Adèle Anderson’s mellifluous Malory Towers schoolmistress. Now, joined on this outing by Sarah-LouiseYoung, they have found a deeper musical tone which is well suited to their cabaret format, and, in the slightly sepulchral Charing Cross Theatre, a wonderful choice of venue for their gorgeously dark view of the world.

Never ones to rest on past laurels, for their first West End show since 2003 Fascinating Aïda have introduced some dazzling new material, Down With The Kids proving to be an instant classic, refreshed older material, such as Best Seller, so comprehensively that it sounds new minted, and wisely kept some old standards intact. While this performance is more upbeat and pacy than previous outings, one of Fascinating Aïda’s strengths has always been their Pagliaccio-esque ability to turn from comedy to tragedy in the blink of an eye, and this is no less evident in Keane’s plangent homage to friends passed.

Keane and Anderson have proved their song writing mettle in a partnership that has lasted for more than two decades, and they are without doubt, wits of Wildean proportions.  Part of their enduring success is the evident bond between them, coupled with fierce intellect and a finger on the pulse of popular culture and politics.  The Government, of course, comes in for a drubbing but for this show their most barbed arrows are aimed at celebrities; James Corden, Cheryl Cole, Jordan, Wayne Rooney, and Jeremy Clarkson are mercilessly ribbed, while a reference to Heather Mills McCartney has the audience gasping in shock before howling with laughter.

Although becoming YouTube sensations at the age of (cough) 49, may seem slightly innocuous, Fascinating Aïda, who have always been thankfully too fruity for television, are now reaching the worldwide audiences that they deserve.  Cheap Flights, with more than seven million views has gone ‘fungal’, or perhaps it was ‘vinyl’, while Dogging is, ahem, chasing up the rear.  Twenty-eight years on, these Great Dames of cabaret show no sign of slowing up, and as the global outlook gets bleaker, Fascinating Aïda just get better.

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Gay Times


Written by Dan Usztan
Published on Thursday, 8 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

So. It’s happened. I’ve fallen in love with a woman.

Well, three women, actually. Those grande dames at Fascinating Aida have done it again with their latest (though strictly non-Christmassy) offering, Cheap Flights.

The title comes from their ‘fungal’ hit, ‘Cheap Flights’ (currently in the many millions of views on YouTube), a Riverdance-inspired Irish folk song about the perils of budget flying. This tune, along with ‘Dogging’, in which the group’s founder member Dillie Keane bashes out a jaunty ditty of car park shagging, are perhaps the trio’s best known tunes, but their repertoire deserves our full attention.

This is classy, classic cabaret – a stage bare but for Keane’s piano (which she plays sat down, stood on the stool and lying prostrate) and a few chairs. Glamour is provided by the costumes (some very jazzy tailoring for Act 1 and sparkles for Act 2) and in their sheer presence. With a wink and a knowing smile the FA ladies belt, croon and insinuate their way through the state of the nation, TOWIE and one night stands. The satirical targets may be obvious (banking crisis/Tony Blair/Jordan) but their musical choices are not and remain a constant delight. A repeated song cycle inspired by Bulgarian folk music (and as someone who, for reasons not to be discussed here, has listened to a lot of that country’s output) is bang on the money; the jigging, bodhrán-inspired rhythm of Cheap Flights has the audience in uproar; and a Weimar cabaret song about an out of tune Teutonic proves the old adage that to play a bad singer you have to be a really good one.

As to the dear ladies themselves, Dillie Keane (too, too glorious) revels in the filth of the evening whether it be in the aforementioned hymn to English pastoral pashing or avoiding any cringe worthy moments in a genuinely up to the minute rap proving she’s ‘down with the kids’. The resplendent Adéle Anderson (a more acidic Mary Portas) oozes sarcasm and glamour whether it be crooning Lotte Lenya-style or discussing unusual domestic arrangements, while new girl Sarah-Louise Young, if lacking the spontaneity of the longer-serving members, brings a killer belt to stories of one night stands and Young British Artists.

If there’s a criticism, it’s that the structure is too rigid – the second half is much stronger in both material and themes, and it’s a shame that the title song is dealt with so early. It’d be nice to have more of a balance between the acts, but, when Dillie Keane stops the show with a haunting, plaintive song about passing years and lost friends, you can forgive almost anything.

Fascinating Aida have earned their place as the first ladies of British cabaret. Like the dirty mouthed aunts you wish you were spending Christmas with, you want to meet them after the show, ply them with Baileys and listen to stories of almost thirty years on the road.

Just don’t ask them how they got their name.

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The British Theatre Guide


Written by Sandra Giorgetti
Published on Saturday, 10 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

Stalwarts of the cabaret circuit for three decades, Fascinating Aïda has landed at the Charing Cross Theatre for a welcome return to London following sell out success on tour.

Still filthy after all these years, the ladies sing about sex and relationships including here the classic “The Dogging Song”, as well as providing musical social commentary, a critique on modern art, a parody of rap and more, including their sprightly ballad on budget airlines, “Cheap Flights”, which is notching up eight million views on YouTube and is making FA something of an internet sensation.

Whether it is an ode to Little Chef, Germans who can’t sing or oriental religion, FA delivers with vocal aplomb and a physical dexterity to cause envy amongst many of a similar age. Time and age haven’t diminished their writing skills either, which remain scalpel sharp, and how can you fail to like someone who rhymes Justin Bieber with amoeba?

Their creative use of language - deemed too blue for the Beeb - may not be everyone’s cup of tea but their lampoon of wealthy business fat cats, “Companies Using Nifty Taxation Systems”, should be obligatory listening for government and City regulatory authorities so that they can be left in no doubt what everyone is thinking and what they seem to be doing nothing about. Even funnier is a gospel celebration of the glorious powers of Tesco, which puts a new perspective on loaves and fishes that is worth the price of the ticket alone.

All three ladies, founder Dillie Keane, veteran Adele Anderson and new girl Sarah-Louise Young, are in excellent comic form and in fine voice and when they eschew the piano to sing a faux Bulgarian Song Cycle a capella, it is easy to overlook the vocal achievement as they take a viciously funny poke at Paul McCartney’s wives, Cheryl Cole or Jordan’s boobs.

Everyone needs a roaringly good laugh from time to time and it doesn’t get much better than this. Those of a delicate disposition should stay at home and those with a weak bladder muscle should take pads because this is very funny stuff indeed.

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Reviews Gate


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

Thirty Years on and still fascinating.

The glorious Dillie Keane has been taking her three-woman satirical cabaret show round the world for three decades. One would have thought familiarity would breed contempt, but the act remains as fresh as ever, the material, not all of which is new, as hilarious and seditious.

Adele Anderson joined Dillie 27 years ago, and this year they have a new number three, the youthful Sarah Louise Young, who has fitted in seamlessly with the other two, older broads. The Aidas are an institution, a national treasure, and incredibly filthy.

Nothing is sacred. Keane, who looks like a bridge-playing matron from Cork – she actually comes from Portsmouth – plays the piano and tells the dirtiest jokes, while Anderson is splendidly louche and glamorous in a rather old-fashioned way, and Young is simply gorgeous.

Naturally they include their song about Cheap Flights, which has apparently gone fungal - or is it vinyl? - on YouTube. (Actually it is viral.) There is also the one about Dogging – if you don’t know what that is, don’t ask, just call it up online where it too is heading for the stratosphere in terms of hits.

‘Cheap Flights’ effectively skewers Ryanair, although they do make amends in one of their legendary Bulgarian ballads at the very end. This one is about prominent Irish citizens who don’t pay their taxes – guess who is the only one of the Irish filthy rich who does?

There is a lovely ballad about Tesco, some splendid one-liners, and a devastating opening number about companies who dodge paying taxes which results in an acronym, unrepeatable here, which reduced the audience to tears of laughter when they got the joke. Mind you, being the Aidas they spelt it out. This must be London’s best Christmas show, though perhaps not for the whole family.

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A Younger Theatre


Written by Ryan Ahem
Published on Friday, 9 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

An evening with Fascinating Aïda, now in its third incarnation, makes you understand why fans will not allow this group to disband (even though they have tried… twice). With comedy that is well observed, intelligent and has a dusting of Ab Fab campery, the three performers (Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Sarah Louise Young) create an evening of pure satirical delight.

There is a trusting comfort in the performances on stage. This is not a piece of theatre that strives to appear perfectly polished; it thrives on moments that can’t be repeated and exercises the quick wit of its performers. Keane, Anderson and Young not only know how to work their material to its fullest capacity but also how to handle an audience. Dillie Keane particularly stands out as being wholly in her element. She appears at ease and completely natural, showcasing her exceptionally strong comic timing.

The subjects of the songs range from dogging to shopping at Tesco and are showcased in the style of Bulgarian song cycles, madrigal pieces and the more traditional setting of voices with piano accompaniment (played by Keane throughout). The direction and choreography (Spencer Soloman) worked especially well with the lyrics and ideas of each song.

From the opening song the audience are drawn into the world of FA. Slowly we are taken down a path that constantly surprises, excites and charms people of all (adult) ages. However, this is not a purely comedic evening as one piece, dedicated to the memory of friends and loved ones that have passed away, had several audience members in tears.

I felt that the opening number was somewhat weaker than the rest of the show, but afterwards I could see how it had prepared me for what was to come (starting with a song based on a mature woman’s experience of dogging may not set the audience at ease after all). There were also some issues with sound during this performance. At times the harmonies overpowered the tune of the song and a few cues seem to have been a bit slow to pick up. However, these are rather minor points in a truly brilliant evening.

It’s time for Fascinating Aïda to make a triumphant return to a big house in the West End (or to write a fully fledged musical, like musical comedian Tim Minchin has recently done with Matilda). Along with Tesco’s Finest and Pippa Middleton’s bottom, Fascinating Aïda is a national treasure.

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uktheatre.net


Written by James Buxton
Published on Thursday, 8 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

It would be an understatement to describe Fascinating Aida as hysterically funny. If you don’t come out of this show with your sides aching from laughter and your face creased into a permanent grin then you should probably find help. This three hander will make even the most morose depressive cry with laughter, it’s genuinely that funny. The thing is, Fascinating Aida is not only hilarious, it is also highly topical and no one is left unscathed, from politicians to celebrities, from new age spiritualists to neo liberal conservatives, every thing is sent up and parodied through their catchy ditties. Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Sarah Louise Young manage to perfectly strike the balance between charming cabaret act and acerbic social critics, whilst remaining permanently upbeat and cheerful.

Employing solely their harmonious voices and Dillie Keane’s skills on the piano, they bring to the stage a defiant attitude of three highly intelligent women who are aware of the hypocrisies within our society and unafraid of making light of them using rhyme and rhythm. Their rhymes never feel too strained but always hit the spot, causing us to howl with laughter. Their first song features the chorus “companies using nifty taxation systems”, spelling out the acronym which sets the fearless tone for the rest of the evening. At times their act is almost reminiscent of a war time cabaret, entertaining the troops, yet they manage to elude categorization as simply cabaret singers. Occasionally their songs bring to mind Gilbert & Sullivan’s operas, using their songs to voice a savage social commentary with great wit and skill. And at other moments, one cannot but help think of Victoria Wood’s ditties.

They even manage to make their Youtube viral, Cheap flights, which has received over 6m hits, and has according to them gone fungal, sound fresh and even more forceful than it first appeared. Their other hits such as Dogging are received with great mirth as Dillie Keane jauntily pounds away on the keys. The dynamic between the three women is genuinely funny, and Keane is the main lynch pin, holding the whole act together with her cynical world weary attitude and hearty voice, which brilliantly contrasts with Sarah Louise Young’s bright eyed enthusiasm and fragile soprano.

By the second half, the whole audience were writhing in their seats in uncontrollable laughter. Fascinating Aida is a show not to be missed, not only are their songs painfully funny, filled with amusing puns and absurd imagery, they’re also extremely relevant songs which everyone can relate to. Go and see this show now, even if you don’t like Dogging!

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The Stage


Written by Paul Vale
Published on Thursday, 8 December 2011
Performance reviewed: London Charing Cross Theatre - 7 December 2011

After a sell-out tour of the UK, Fascinating Aida have finally brought their latest show, Cheap Flights, to the capital. The song Cheap Flights has become a YouTube sensation garnering nearly 5 million views and perhaps more pertinently introducing a wider audience to the sophistication and humour of the singer/songwriters Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and relative newcomer to the team Sarah Louise Young.

Something of an antidote to the sentimentality of the encroaching holiday season, Cheap Flights features a host of classic favourites - from confessions of dogging via the delectably Weill-dean Lieder before bringing the house down with such glorious revelations as Jesus Saves, But Tesco Saves You More.

Exquisite three part harmonies are perhaps the back-bone of Fascinating Aida, often hidden beneath cut and thrust satire or intelligent pastiche. The Bulgarian Song Cycles, for instance, are fairly light satirical and often political observations, given weight by their distinctive and hilarious vocal treatment.

New numbers for the tour include Down With The Kids led by a remarkably nimble Keane, a hip-hop routine that stretches the performers both vocally and physically and Young’s own composition with Richard Link called One Night Stand, which will no doubt become as firm a favourite as Mr and Mrs and Me, the poignant tale of polyamory beautifully rendered by Anderson.

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