An Audience with Dana Gillespie

Submitted by faysie1 on Sat, 23 Aug '08 7.56pm
Edinburgh Festival review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
clubWEST Productions
Dana Gillespie (vocalist), Joachim Palden (piano)
Running time

One of the great things about the Fringe is the variety of venues you can find yourself in to watch a show. On a great night, with the right performance, even the most unlikely space ceases to matter once you get caught up in the moment. On a very wet August evening, in a pretty non-descript - but very warm - room up Surgeons Hall, Dana Gillespie pretty much managed to make me forget where I was, and transported the audience to a prohibition-era New Orleans bordello. If that seems a little unlikely, let me explain ...


An Audience with Dana Gillespie was an hour of rollicking, risqué boogie-woogie blues. Accompanied by piano wizard Joachim Palden, Miss Gillespie sang her way through a range of blues standards from the first half of the 20th century. It has to be said that none of these numbers could be classified as subtle - with titles like "Big Boy," and lyrics like "you drive me crazy when I play with your toy," the blues is clearly not the genre for those of a modest disposition!

Thankfully, this didn't seem to be a problem for Dana, who explained early on in the performance that she thought that singing the blues really wasn't a job for the inexperienced. From the up-tempo start of "Big Boy" and "Ugly Poppa," through the raunchy "Experience"' to the wonderfully melancholy "St Louis Blues," Dana's rich and soulful voice took us through a blues journey, from risqué humour, to lost love and betrayal.

A special mention has to go to Joachim Palden, Dana's long-time accompanist, and all-round boogie-woogie wizard. As well as accompanying Dana brilliantly throughout the show, Joachim performed a Formula One-paced solo number that blew the audience away - genius.

This was a great snapshot of authentic blues, very well-performed - all that was missing was the bootlegged moonshine...

Times: August 18-23 at 21:00