Performer: Sarah-Louise Young
Director: Russell Lucas
Reviewer: Richard Maguire
Love her or hate her, Kate Bush remains one of Britain’s great pop eccentrics. Since her first appearance on Top of the Pops at the age of 19 with the iconic Wuthering Heights, Bush has always been easy to parody. Yet, Sarah-Louise Young’s An Evening Without Kate Bush is more like a tribute act than a comedy show. But if you’re a superfan there may be nothing wrong with that.
The show begins with Young singing the very evocative And Dream of Sheep, a track off the album Hounds of Love. She sings it so respectfully that it’s difficult to find humour here, even if she is simultaneously trying to fight her way out of the enormous veil that threatens to engulf her. Within minutes she’s cajoled the audience, surprisingly up for it at 7pm, to bark along to the single Hounds of Love.
The audience are required to do quite a lot of singing and dancing – some unlucky members are even dragged on to the stage to perform bits of Cloudbusting and Don’t Give Up – and let’s hope that when this show reaches Edinburgh next month that its slot is later on in the evening, with the chance of few drinks getting rid of all those nasty inhibitions.
Occasionally alongside the gentle humour are flashes of another show, tragic and moving, caught in undertow of this bladeless satire. Young reads out people’s comments under the YouTube video of the duet with Peter Gabriel. The fact that Bush and her songs mean so much to people is relatively unexplored, especially as Young expects her show to mainly attract Bush’s loyal devotees, who are, apparently, also known as Fish People.
Some songs are played straight like The Man with the Child in his Eyes, while others like This Woman’s Work are played for the mildest of laughs, though for this particular track one can’t help wishing it were performed with the gravitas that the song requires. But at only 60 minutes long, it’s hard not to be carried away with Young’s enthusiastic impersonations.
Kate Bush performs live so rarely that even an Evening Without Kate Bush might help to fill in the void that some fans may feel. Indeed, as Young says some days there is no choice but ‘to fall into the arms of a tribute act.’
Reviewed on 18 July 2019 | Image contributed