If Cabaret were a person, then Fascinating Aida would strip it naked and display it sweating and panting in the heat of the act.
The act in question is a cheeky British threesome – Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman – who dominate the Theatre on the Bay with biting satire, coarse ‘Bulgarian song cycles’ and brilliant lyricism. A massive hit worldwide, they are nonetheless best known on home soil, where the Mail on Sunday has proclaimed, “See them before you die otherwise your life will have been meaningless”.
These songstresses loosely classify themselves as aviation experts but in reality I am not sure who would allow them to pilot a plane. I do know, however that I would pay good money to hop on one of their cheap flights. Dillie may purport to Captain the aircraft, but she has the vocabulary of a sailor. As she punches out short, sharp rhythms on the piano and slurs through her solos, she also dishes out invaluable life-advice such as, “Never order teeth from a catalogue”. Dillie may be on the more experienced side of 50, but that doesn’t stop her from being “Down with the Kids” – the title of a number in which the girls swop their heels for trainers and indulge in crotch-grabbing rap to demonstrate just how hip they can be. I would watch the show again if only to hear the phrase, “totes amazeballs” held up to ridicule so acutely and articulately.
On this note, it was a pity that the audience was dominated by the over 60s. Yes, it is old-style music hall entertainment, but Fascinating Aida is performed at a blistering pace and its razor sharp wit continually references celebrity drama, popular culture and current political events, making it ideally tailored to a younger crowd. I wasn’t surprised, as I casually eavesdropped during the interval, to overhear many of older people remarking that they did not quite pick up on some of the more contemporary jokes and gimmicks. They were clearly enjoying themselves nonetheless, and on some levels it was a relief that an 80 year old should be bewildered at the prospect of vajazzling her minge.
Captain Dillie receives sterling support from her crew, ‘Navigator’ Adele and ‘Air Marshal’ Liza. Adele was once a simple girl from the country, she claims, but now shamelessly channels Anjelica Huston and takes to the stage in a glistening cocktail dress and three inch heels. She discourses sonorously on the great advantages of dating a married man, and her star turn is the husky Marlene Dietrich rip-off. Liza is perfectly cast as the resiliently perky young soprano of the threesome, whose bright optimism (chiefly highlighted by the fact that she’s ‘Getting It’) balances the pseudo sour cynicism of the other two. But Liza is no sap and her demure appearance conceals a cutting wit.
Fascinating Aida introduces us to three women who would probably burn the building down if given half a chance. After the show, the three stars are on hand to meet the audience and offer to sign any document, item of clothing or body-part that is placed in front of them. Use your imagination. It is unlikely you will be able to shock these veterans.
Fascinating Aida runs at the Theatre on the Bay 29 January to 16 February 2013.