Sunday, 4 January 2015

Charm and offence in equal measure

"Laughter, silliness, bravery and four letter words sung in glorious harmony." - Liza Pulman

"More wit, cutting edge lyrics and uber-glamour than you can shake a stick at." - Adèle Anderson

"Charm and offence in equal measure - what else?" - Dillie Keane

Yes! The girls of Fascinating Aïda are back, and we were overjoyed to go and see them at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank on Friday evening [as part of the celebrations for our friend Jim's birthday, which culminated in verrrry late drinkies after his party last night; I didn't get in till 4am]. I couldn't think of a better way to kick-start the social calendar for 2015...

With a combination of classic numbers - such as the brilliant YouTube mega-hits Dogging and, of course, Cheap Flights ("There's no such fecking thing as a fecking flight for 50p") - some rather fabulous new material and the bang up-to-date satirical Bulgarian Song Cycles (taking a well-aimed pop at everything from the Kardashians to the Royals to George Osborne) it was all we could have expected and more. Expert harmonies, hilarious moments as well as serious heart-string-tugging material (the poignant Look Mummy No Hands, Old Home and Little Girls in Pink in particular), the girls of "FA" are three of the most talented variety artists in the business.

Ever ones to take the piss out of themselves as much as anything else, their opening number about death We’re Next was a great start. Our sides were splitting at the pastiche hip-hop routine Down With The Kids, Adèle's deeply dark Song of Genetic Mutation, and Dillie's ‘Allo, Bonjour Monsieur! (with its refrain about safe sex: "Where is your Johnny, now?"). FA show favourites The Health & Safety Executive and Taboo were brilliantly pithy as always, and we loved the bitchiness of some of the newer material such as Spending Nigel’s Bonus, Joyce and Boomerang Kids.

The highlights for me were twofold. Adèle's song about her transition from boy to woman Prisoner of Gender was utterly marvellous - I first heard it last year, but it was great to see it performed live. As once commentator put it; "it must be the only song out there to rhyme “thin and runty” with “I read Bunty”...

Best of all, however, was Liza's beautiful and heartfelt song about the nervousness and hope that surrounds a divorcee on her first "date" - Out of Practice. This song alone knocks spots of most West End shows' "torch songs"; it was utterly delightful.

What a great evening.

Here's the girls' "encore" number on Friday - a very hilarious (and rude) Christmas Song:

A compilation of songs from the show (as available on their new DVD) is available here [for some bizarre reason, this video cannot be embedded...]

And, finally, I simply can't resist posting Dogging again:

The girls are at the Southbank Centre until 11th January 2015, then they're off again up and down the UK - check their website for details.

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