Floral Pavilion, New Brighton
February 1, reviewed for Writebase: https://writebase.co.uk/
Who says women of a certain age are invisible? Three cheers for the ever glamorous, and indeed, downright sexy (not sure I’m permitted to say that, but damn sure they wouldn’t object) Fascinating Aîda, who not only make their presence felt but are so in your face you can see the whites of their eyes as the sweetest of harmonies deliver vitriol in the sharpest of points; a fabled, and fabulous, iron fist in a velvet glove. And you needn’t think the audience is full of, shall we say, women in their prime either because
roughly half were men, and every single person received each ditty with rapturous applause; every telling observation with thunderous appreciation. As to younger people, who must at the very least appreciate all the political satire, if of a sensitive nature, as Dillie Keane rightly asks, what on earth are they doing here? Or words to that effect. She also commented wryly on Cancel Culture – if that ever happens to them, it would be the end of civilisation as we know it.
About to celebrate their 40th anniversary, the trio are as warm and passionate as that ruby, ably assisted by a remarkable pianist, newcomer Michael Roulston, who fits in seamlessly, frequently given the chance to shine, and not just in his sequins That said, ending the show with ‘Sew on a Sequin’ may have felt a bit of a let down, particularly following a cleverly crafted tribute to New Brighton, having deliberately showered the town with praise throughout the show; the first act, blessedly, finished us off with the first class ‘Cheap Flights’. However, ‘Instagram Hashtag’, despite its poignant ending, didn’t have much to say which we hadn’t already heard about, or read about rather. But more than likely on my own here because everything went down really well with the audience, if a little surprising not to hear more of their views on misogyny, even if ‘Little Girls in Pink’ with its startlingly vivid images, could be described as a feminist anthem. For once, I actually jotted down some notes, with the help of my companion, determined not to miss a thing. Nor did I, apart from one song, and she it was who succinctly summed up ‘This ain’t the Hokey Cokey any more’ as ‘senior shagging’.
As for favourites, where to start? Well, the opening was as good a place as any, and with the witty, bitter comments of ‘Fake News’, you were quickly made aware that they are simply never going to run out of material; environmental concerns, quite rightly, were highlighted with a monologue as well as a song, ‘Lerwick Town’. For the mainly comic offerings, ‘Lieder’ was excellent, a sly dig at ‘Cabaret’ amongst other things, delivered in a deliciously husky accent by Adèle Anderson, who also enjoyed herself immensely attending ‘Funerals’. It made a delightful contrast with soprano Liza Pulman, who let us into the secret of ‘Bob’ , then neatly showed how all of us would be at a loss in ‘Arguments’, the point hammered home loud enough to wake the dead with furious percussion and raucous whistle blowing. As for the portentously serious re-worked ‘Bulgarian Song Cycle 2021, this was enriched by Dillie Keane’s knowingness, and she came into her own over and over again, including in ‘Suddenly New Zealand’ with a sheep puppet (you had to be there, and so you should). They later boldly adopted the traditional Shakespearian route, the hilariously vulgar ‘Dogging’, greeted with huge delight, followed by the deeply sad ‘This Table’, mourning the loss of friends.
In over 30 years of reviewing, I have rarely seen a more enthralled or enthusiastic audience, and could, fittingly, conclude with something flippant: if you didn’t enjoy the evening, you know sweet FA about entertainment…. But it soon occurred to me, given the three of them admit they’re party animals, even they would not have attended those parties, although had they done so, and burst into song, would the Government finally realise the true state of things? And if any politician came along to a performance, they couldn’t help but see how much in contempt they are held, that the entire country would be laughing at them, if the situation were not so deadly serious. Then perhaps, like all the rest of us, they’d have something to be really worried about.