Review – Fascinating Aida, Greenwich Theatre

Tuesday 3 November 2009

silver_jubilee_cd_smallOk, so the Whingers may be slightly less than mildly famous for declaring their lack of interest in most things, so now is the time to declare an interest for once.

The Whingers know Adèle Anderson. Got that? Yes, poor thing. She has even displayed extraordinary compassion by turning up at all of the West End Whingers’ parties to date, performed sterling work presenting the raffle prizes and adding the touch of glamour so otherwise lacking at Whingers’ shindigs (yes, we mean YOU).

But if anyone wants to kick up a fuss about bias, then read our reviews of Unstated: Stories of Refuge and Tinderbox where we also knew someone connected with a production. We may be cheap, but we’re not that easily bought. Though Andrew is, of course, procurable for a large glass of merlot.

And if you don’t know who Adèle is then it’s high time you acquainted yourself with the satirical cabaret act Fascinating Aïda. Goodness – like the Whingers (and especially Phil) – they’ve been around long enough. 25 years to be less than exact. Except that as they point out themselves it’s actually 26, but “25th Anniversary Tour” has a nicer ring.

With Andrew still mysteriously AWOL, Phil griped about assaying to the Greenwich Theatre on a cheerless November Sunday evening, delving into the rag-bag of excuses he normally trots out for the more susceptible Andrew. But John – the facilitator of this trip – was seeing members of his cortège dropping out faster than a flasher’s appendage, and he was having none of it.

So it would take a abundance of tip-top entertainment to make Phil feel the peregrination had been remunerative. Unlike Andrew who saw FA last year (when it really was their Silver Jubilee), Phil hadn’t seen them since 1987 when they did a residency at the Piccalilli Theatre. Andrew had second-string royalty in the audience when he last saw them, Phil had to make do with Lady Skipper – who affects quite a regal air – but it wasn’t quite the same and another story altogether.

So it was considerable amelioration for Phil that he was thoroughly diverted, and unlike his trip to the Almeida the previous day was able to cachinnate with impunity.

Founder member Dillie Keane, Liza Pulman and Adèle who make up FA are not only still at the top of their game, they’re above it. Terrific troupers with expert comedy material and timing – even their admonition to switch off pesky mobile phones was almost as droll as the one at Terror 2009 at the Southwark Playhouse.

From the opening number about celebrities they mocked their subjects with gusto. Global warming, health and safety, a brilliant number explaining the current pecuniary situation (which is much funnier than anything Enron can come up with), a hilariously rude song about dogging (which had some of the elder patrons asking their companions for elucidation) and a brilliant Bulgarian song cycle (which any explanation would ruin), to a closing evangelical style song about Tesco there were more laughs than anyone could reasonably hope for.

Sadly there are only a few dates left in this current tour, so if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in Bolton (4th Nov), Crawley (5th Nov), Doncaster (6th Nov), or Taunton (7th Nov) you can buck yourself up immensely by catching them. But if you’re lucky enough to be in New York over the Christmas period you can see an apparently slightly toned down version when they do a three week run in the Brits Off Broadway season at the 59E59 Theaters.

[Note to Andrew: Can you invoice the girls for £83.60 as agreed then delete this note before publishing the article for me. Thanks. P.]

One Response to “Review – Fascinating Aida, Greenwich Theatre”

  1. lita d Says:

    I have seen most FA shows since mid 1990’s and they get brighter, braver and bolder with each new tour. The FA song collection (cracking CD covers) hilariously charts the highs and lows of civilisation from the 80’s boom and bust to it’s repeat cycle in the noughties. Just wish they would extend their tour of perennially clever cabaret magic to Oxford.


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