If the thought of a revue with a female vocal trio plus piano seems a throwback to the pre-Angry Young Man theatre of the 1950s, think again. Fascinating Aïda – founded in 1983 – may appear to have a traditional ethos but their material is bang up-to-date.
Their forthcoming Christmas season is a chance to experience the three women’s perfect blend of elegance and edginess.
But who on earth are they? The line-up is pianist and founder Dillie Keane, backed by longstanding associate Adèle Anderson and comparatively-recent arrival, Liza Pulman (other third members have come and gone).
Their ethos is probably summed-up with the words cocktail-dresses-plus-stilettos (of the bladed variety, that is), while they sing, poking fun, kvetching in rhyme and in music. Their humour is bawdy and not for the straitlaced, whilst topics have ranged from nuclear disaster and the break-up of Eastern Europe to toy-boys and herpes.
As for audiences, a Scottish theatre manager, standing in the wings at one of their performances, said to Keane: “Ye’ve rich, ye’ve poor, ye’ve young, ye’ve old, ye’ve intellectuals and ye’ve country bumpkins”. And that’s probably because the Fascinating Aïda show you see tomorrow will be different from the one you see today, for they are always updating their act’s contents.
The trio keep their performance fresh by constant writing and rewriting, so that there is never a show that doesn’t have a significant proportion of new material. Given the current political situation, along with topics like social media abuse, #MeToo and the Trump presidency, they’re not lacking for inspirational subject-matter.
Indeed, whilst their new season’s set list includes some old favourites, Christmas has provided them with a seasonal song which features…but that would be telling. Catch them while you can.