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 The Theatreguide.London Review


Fascinating Aida - One Last Flutter
Comedy Theatre, Autumn 2003

The delightful trio of singing comediennes round out their twentieth anniversary and, they assure us, farewell tour with this short London run, and you yourself should run, not walk, to see them. 

Just as points of reference for the uninitiated, let me invoke the names of Noel Coward, Tom Lehrer,  Flanders and Swann, and Kit and the Widow. If any of those are familiar to you, you'll have some sense of the witty and inventive songs and amiably low-key performances on tap here.

Fans will know that the trio has undergone some changes in lineup over the two decades, but this is as close to the definitive cast as you are likely to get. Dillie Keane (the blonde ditzy one) has been the core of the trio throughout. Marilyn Cutts (the short operatic one) was there at the start but left, dropping back in a couple of times over the years. Adele Anderson (the statuesque one) joined a few months after the group's founding and has been there ever since. They're accompanied here by pianist and occasional singer Russell Churney.

Dillie and Adele write all their songs, and the current show is a happy mix of old favourites and new sparklers. Chief among the latter are hilarious acknowledgements of the passage of time as the ladies (who admit to being in the general vicinity of 50) bemoan hot flashes, the appeal of cosmetic surgery and the pains of life on the road with the colleagues from hell.

And then there's the musical admission that an increasingly dangerous world makes emigration to New Zealand ever more attractive, a number that starts as a Gilbert and Sullivan patter song and somehow evolves into a panto-style singalong.

Of course we get to hear the trio's anthem, Sew On A Sequin, and there are medleys that allow at least a few bars from such other FA glories as Sloane Rangers, Viagra, I Fancy the Pope, the Herpes Tango, and everywoman's lament I'm In Love With A Man Who's In Love With Another Man.

Balancing the humour are a few songs with a little more weight to them, about waiting too long for the man of one's dreams to come by or, most movingly, about being haunted by the ghosts of the children one never had.

Obviously, I'm a fan. I have been for 20 years. But I brought along a friend who had never heard of them, and he had a ball as well. So don't let the fact that this may be your first time inhibit you. If the ladies are telling the truth, this will be your last chance.

Gerald Berkowitz

(Later note: perhaps predictably, this farewell turned out to be premature, and the act, with occasional changes in lineup, continued to tour on and off for many more years.)

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Review - Fascinating Aida - Comedy 2003