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!


What’s On Stage


Written by Edwin Plumber
Published on Friday, 26 August 2011
Performance reviewed: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe - August 2011

Having only seen snippets of Fascinating Aida at press launches and not, in all honesty, having been bowled over, I was unsure whether they would live up to the rave recommendations I’ve heard this Fringe. I was quite wrong in my past impressions and they did - with a splendid, silly and beautifully sung and performed show.

The witty, warm and varied material – from the sharply satirical to the very daft and dirty - makes for a hugely entertaining hour. I particularly enjoyed the opening number and the shorts in the Bulgarian song cycle. Songs such as YouTube classic, “Cheap Flights” and “Dogging”, which have established them as one of the finest comedy cabaret acts around, are beautifully delivered and were rapturously received by the packed house. There are moments of genuine pathos too as Dillie Keane leads a song about absent friends.

The troupe’s newest member, Sarah-Louise Young is rather younger than Keane and Adele Anderson, which does show in the way the voices blend leading to the odd balance problem with harmonies and melody. The new material from Young also stands out a little but adds a new dimension to these masters of variety performance and reinvention and with a little time, I’m sure will successfully bed-in.

Cheap Flights is a treat of a show that will entertain, move and uplift you. And, good news for those who missed it in Edinburgh, it’s headed out on tour and for the West End later in the autumn. Book now.

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Edinburgh Festivals


Written by Martin Gray
Published on Friday, 26 August 2011
Performance reviewed: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe - August 2011

FLIGHTY, yes, but cheap isn’t a word you readily associate with Fascinating Aida. For 28 years, in various incarnations, sweet FA have been adding a touch of class to the British cabaret scene. Truth be told, along with Kit and the Widow, they own the area of satirical songs.

And that’s where Cheap Flights comes in, as Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and new member Sarah-Louise Young name a show for their musical tribute to Ryanair, an internet sensation with seven million YouTube hits. A diddle-di-dum delight with verse after verse centring on the likelihood of really getting a flight for 50p, it has the audience roaring.

But it doesn’t overshadow the rest of the show, with song after song eliciting titters, chuckles and guffaws aplenty. The hour opens with the typically hilarious Companies Using Nifty Taxation Systems, an ode to Non-Doms. There’s a hymn to the usually unsung hobby of dogging, a tribute to Switzerland’s one-way holidays for elderly parents and attempts to engage with yoof culture by staying forever young.

A few moments of contemplation are provided by the poignant Goodbye Old Friends, but other than that it’s business as usual. Boring takes to task the people who claim there’s just nothing to do. Young - also appearing in her own show, Cabaret Whore: More! More! More! - fronts a frightfully filthy number about f***buddies. And there’s the return of the Bulgarian Song Cycles, pithy ditties in which topical grenades meet Eastern European musical styles.

Impressive as the fiercely intelligent trio’s songs and musicality are, their moves are also worth noting - there’s enormous energy on the stage, astounding when you consider that between them FA have been performing at the Fringe for 81 years (Anderson and Keane graciously note that Young halves the average age).

As smutty as they’re elegant and tuneful, Fascinating Aida send you out into the night with a massive smile on your face and a spring in your step. Cheap Flights is worth a heck of a lot more than 50p.

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Hairline


Written by Adrian G. Velazquez
Published on Saturday, 13 August 2011
Performance reviewed: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe - August 2011

A tent-pole of the Fringe, Fascinating Aida return to a daily sell-out show snappier and sassier than ever.

Although their introductory number about taxes and Inland Revenue inspires more chuckles than riotous laughter, the ensuing array of songs put this right again and ensures the audience remains in a constant state of non-stop laughter, which lasts until the lights go up.

This time round, the magnificent Dilli Keane and the droll, often hilarious Adèle Anderson are accompanied on stage by new, younger girl Sarah-Louise Young. Although it initially looks like she doesn’t fit in, Young quickly puts minds at rest and her likeable persona and great singing voice reminds us of a young Julie Andrews, circa ‘The Sound of Music’. The trio complement each other – and their comedy – perfectly, their humour and good spirits extremely infectious.

Young’s song to a new lover, or the surreally funny Bulgarian Song Cycle are but the tip of a big comic iceberg, with other highlights including the crowd-pleasing Cheap Flights song and a Hip Hop effort that should be embarrassing but which is just as funny.

But it’s not all about comedy with these girls. It is a brave move to sing a sad and poignant little song about Fringe friends who they’ve lost over the years, and although it breaks the continuous laughter briefly, it is beautifully rendered by Keane.

By the end of the show, the audience is enjoying themselves so much that, when the encore arrives, we simply want the show to start all over again.

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TheatreguideLondon


Written by Gerald Berkowitz
Published on Saturday, 13 August 2011
Performance reviewed: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe - August 2011

If you are a fan of Fascinating Aida, you don’t need me to send you to their latest show. And if you don’t know this veteran trio of singing comediennes, hie thee hence to the Gilded Balloon for an hour of delight. In the tradition of Flanders & Swann or Noel Coward, sweet FA sing self-penned songs skewering everything from budget airlines to this morning’s news, sex in carparks to taking mother on a one-way holiday to Switzerland. Actually a lot of people may be coming to the trio for the first time this year, as their budget airline song, after which the show is named, has become a YouTube hit, and many will have the adventure of discovering how funny they are on other topics – and what good song writers they are, as the one serious number, about absent friends, demonstrates beautifully. That said, I have to admit that long-time FA fans may find this year’s show not quite top-level. As they’ll know, Dillie Keane (the blonde pianist) and Adele Anderson (the tall brunette) are constants and there have been a string of third persons over the years. This year’s Sarah-Louise Young is lovely to look at and listen to, but she hasn’t developed a comic character yet, and is essentially just a third voice. And while everyone likes to hear old favourites, a little too much of this show, including all the songs I’ve mentioned so far, just repeats last year’s programme. But those are cavils. They’re funny. Go.

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Across The Arts


Written by Jo Turbitt
Published on Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Fringe veterans Dilly Keane and Adele Anderson bring their new recruit, Sarah Louise Young, into the fold of Fascinating Aida in this musical romp. The songs, played and written by the Jedi of piano and lyrics Dilly Keane, are riddled with wit and social anecdotes, and they are mainly about how the world has gone to the dogs. Slightly too clever at times with too modern a topic, some jokes went over the heads of the majority of the older fans. The content would appeal mainly more to the generation turning 30. If that’s what they are aiming for then they have achieved it, but they should be careful that they don’t alienate the fans that got them to where they are.

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The Stage newspaper


Written by Mark Shenton
Published on Monday, 15 August 2011
Performance reviewed: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe - August 2011

Between them, the members of Fascinating Aida have been visiting the Edinburgh fringe for 81 years now, says the sole remaining founder member of the trio Dillie Keane.

Now, with the 30th anniversary of the troupe’s founding rapidly approaching, they’re proving yet again why their brand of barbed yet polished entertainment makes them still a saucy and safe bet for an hour of original musical comedy.

There may be more dangerous acts around now such as Tim Minchin or even Bill Bailey in the musical stakes, but sweet FA got there first, applying its sharp, ballroom-gowned delivery to subvert and continually delight. Newly joined by the vibrant Sarah-Louise Young, who sings a wonderful solo about one-night stands, Keane and Adele Anderson (who signed up in 1984) offer deadpan sophistication and the kind of drop-dead elegance that their younger, hairier competitors don’t.
They’ve also achieved a whole new audience thanks to YouTube, with their song about the torture (and hidden costs) of so-called cheap flights going viral (or fungal, as they comment here). Fascinating Aida is clearly here to stay, and deservedly so.


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ThreeWeeks


Written by Ciara Knowles
Published on Monday, 15 August 2011
Performance reviewed: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe - August 2011

Cast off your preconceptions of cabaret as stuffy and outdated and prepare to usher in the relevant, modern – and rather cheeky – Fascinating Aïda. With a show based on the name of their viral YouTube hit (check it out now - you will struggle to contain your giggles), this performance boasts their songbook favourite and some new additions. With topics ranging from Osama Bin Laden to orang-utan surrogate mothers, from the recession to religion, it is fitting that the cast declare this show is not ‘for those of a sensitive disposition’. Think the observant, witty nature of Tom Lehrer and the raucous, blunt honesty of ‘Loose Women’ and that’s what is offered by these established Fringe favourites.

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The Telegraph


Written by Jim White
Published on Monday, 15 August 2011
Performance reviewed: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe - August 2011

The veteran musical humorists have arrived in Edinburgh as something of a modernist sensation. “Cheap Flights”, their magnificent demolition of Ryanair, has accumulated millions of hits on YouTube. In the past year, the video has gone, according to Adele Anderson, their Buster Keaton-faced singer, “fungal”. It was a nice line, one which summed up a show in which an ageing threesome try valiantly to make sense of a modern world through song and - in one memorable hip-hop routine that left two thirds of the company wheezing and panting - dance.

According to their founder Dillie Keane, Aida have been coming to the Fringe since before their latest recruit Sarah-Louise Young was born. And they can rarely have been funnier than this. At times - in a song about the joys of dogging, or in an uproarious faux Bulgarian folk song cycle or a delightful number on solipsistic pick-and-mix religion - they were sharp enough to be considered a dangerous weapon.

As she pounds away at the piano Keane looks ever more like the Duchess of Cornwall after a heavy night on Duchy Original gin. Her worldview is laconic, her lyrics lacerating, her voice now capable of going deeper than a Chilean miner. And she and her fellow troupers keep the laughs rolling through an hour of entertainment. Not that every song works. The opening number, which might have been prefaced by a BBC-style warning about strong language from the start, missed its rather sizeable target of the tax-dodging superrich by several yards. But most are so expertly forged, they will have anyone with a sense of the absurdity of our current situation cackling.

The climax of the show is, naturally enough, Cheap Flights, the diddly-eyed Irish reel that beautifully deconstructs the offer of a 50p trip to Tralee. It is, as the whooping audience insisted, feckin hilarious.

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