Fascinating Aïda: Back in the Saddle, Assembly Palais du Variété, Fringe Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
David Johnson and John Mackay
Dillie Keane, Adèle Anderson, Liza Pulman
Running time

For over 30 years, the outrageously talented trio that is Fascinating Aïda has been entertaining audiences in their unique subversive style. Founded in 1983 by the group’s piano player Dillie Keane, who was joined the following year by fellow songwriter Adèle Anderson, FA has had a few other gals as the third member and currently that is soprano, Liza Pulman.

A shocking pink light infuses the mirrored Palais du Variété in Edinburgh’s George Square before Keane appears on stage at her piano. Gradually Anderson and Pulman join her and so begins an hour packed with a healthy dose of cheery world weary cynicism that lifts the heart more than any sanctimony. FA may look like they belong in the local yachting club or be stalwarts of the WI on a glam night out and singing with voices that have the veneer that sounds very Home Counties to Scottish ears, but what lovely liars they are! There are songs full of tongue twisting lyrics like modern G & S played with a pseudo jingoistic tone but beneath that façade lies delicious rudeness.

Across this set that includes their hilarious YouTube one hit wonder Cheap Flights, they include from their catalogue a scratchy bitchy carp on the joys of knowing each other too well; take a snipe at faux religious fads and cosmetic surgery, and of course deal with Brexit.

Adèle Anderson have had serious health issues recently and rather than glossing over and ignoring, in gallus FA style, they look this square in the face and write a song about it resulting in Big C. Their coal black humour allows a tune to euthanasia and just when we think life’s one big laugh, they hit us with a thoughtful serious song Time, finishing with a re-write of Suddenly New Zealand that cocks a great big FA snoot at our current scary world.

Their risqué lyrics with their fearless edge may be the nearest non-underground audiences will get to the spirit of a Weimar cabaret in our lifetime so thanks to these three female stalwarts for providing that.

It is privilege to see this wickedly offensive trio of talent. Not so much an iron fist in a velvet glove as two fingers in a shocking pink, sequined one. Vive les gals!

22–28 August 2016, 7pm