Home / Music / Fascinating Aïda: The Cheap Flights Tour – Grand Opera House, York

Fascinating Aïda: The Cheap Flights Tour – Grand Opera House, York

Reviewer: Andrew Liddle


Sir Noel Coward once remarked that a comedian should always know how far to go when going too far. Fascinating Aïda, this trio of female satirical singers, seem hell bent on reinterpreting this. Go as far as you can beyond the bounds of decency and then go a bit farther – and a bit farther still. And if you don’t like it, as the effervescent Dillie Keane, the group’s pianist, driving force and founder, remarks – what are you doing here? Actually, she didn’t phrase it thus politely. And didn’t the audience love her for it, this packed house of all ages from thirty upwards united in mirth and near hysteria.

What a hugely talented trio they are. Dillie, a virtuoso at the piano, her very posh tones and bossy manner in themselves so comically at odds with the caustic ribaldry of her tongue. Then there’s the deadpan, deep-throated Adele Anderson, hulking large and casting a world-weary eye over the myriad domestic and corporate atrocities of our times. And then there’s Liz Pulman, back with them after her year’s sabbatical, and still as delightfully elfin, mock naïve and quaveringly soprano as ever.

They are currently on their Cheap Flights’ Tour, which takes its name not from their mode of transport but from their wicked put- down of a certain Irish airline. It’s the bravura item of the night, riotously funny and involving so many strands of comedy from the sheer visual of the Irish dancing to boot, to the subtleties (and unsubtleties) of linguistic outrage. And it culminates in a frenzy of F-words which had the audience beside itself with sheer glee. Strange, really, that we still find taboo words – no longer, in fact, taboo but actually obligatory – so compellingly, eye-wateringly hysterical.

Their satire is of the sort that owes its origins to, shall we say, Flanders and Swann meets That Was The Week That Was, brought bang up-to-date by Jimmy Carr for a modern age, edgily political, decadently urban and sophisticatedly absurdist, that knows all about such diverse practices as ‘dogging’ in a car park and the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion.

Next year is this cabaret trio’s thirtieth anniversary. Watch out!

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