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A fond farewell to a Fascinating trio



Review by David Munro

WE ARE told this is the final tour of Fascinating Aida, that institution of well-staged cabaret that has been with us, in various incarnations, since the early 1980's.

An irreverent trio of female clowns, it has changed its makeup from time to time, over the years, although the one and only begetter and principal writer of their material, Dillie Keane, remains constant.

The trio, now touring, comprise Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Marilyn Cutts, who are joined by Russell Churney ,accompanying them on the piano, and, from time to time, joining in the revels.

They are a wickedly acerbic trio, with material that is, at the same time, scabrous and rib-achingly funny. They are clowns in the true sense of the word, taking episodes of life and turning them inside out to reveal their ridiculous and sometimes malevolent aspects.

In a sense, they defy analysis, for, just when you think you have understood them, they are off in another bizarre tangent and prosaic criticism is blown away in yet another gale of laughter.

Although they are professional to the tips of their well-polished fingernails, they manage to give the impression that everything they do has just occurred to them, and their pleasure is to share with you whatever vagary of life they have just discovered.

Most of their material is tried and true, written by Mesdames Keane and Anderson, but somehow, however often you may have heard them, their songs and witticisms seem as fresh today as they were when first delivered to an unsuspecting world.

Therefore, while attending one of their performances is, in some ways, like revisiting old friends - you know that they will still surprise you with some twist of phrase, or mode of delivery, that makes each performance a new event.

And so, this makes the thought that they are retiring all the more poignant.

One Last Flutter is as good and funny and as full of biting wit and humour as ever.

They do not seem tired, jaded or at the end of their tether, quite the reverse. They as a fresh joyous and as ebullient as they were when I first saw them in the 1980s.

Age does not wither, in their case it adds new lustre, and it is sad to think that future generations will only know them from their recordings which, delightful as they are, in no way capture the full impact of their stage personas.

I hope that like Sinatra, Melba and many another well known retiree, that their retirement is a mere facon de parler, and I shall never, to misquote from one of their classic numbers, be "Asking Dilly Keane 'Fascinating who?' - It's Taboo!

Fascinating Aida - A Last Flutter; Music & Lyrics by Dillie Keane and Adele Anderson; Directed by Christopher Luscombe; Designed by Simon Higlett; Choreography by Geoff Garratt; Lighting byDouglas Kuhrt; Sound by Graham Naylor.
W ITH Dilly Keane; Adele Anderson; Marilyn Cutts. Produced by Edward Snape for Fiery Angel. At Richmond Theatre, The Little Green , Richmond, Surrey. Tickets 020 8940 0088

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