The Little Bulb Theatre has not been going very long and yet already they have high praise from Guardian theatre critic Lyn Gardner, calling the company, “Recklessly talented...insanely brave.” And she’s right. Trying to describe their play Operation Greenfield to a friend afterwards involved the phrase ‘you had to be there’ which can only mean one of two things; the play was incoherent rubbish, or the company was insanely brave. It’s certainly been a while since I saw a slow-mo montage depicted on stage. In fact I have never seen a slow-mo montage depicted on stage (but I have been in one).
“If you’re of a delicate disposition... then what the f*ck are you doing in here?!” The question from Dillie Keane halfway through Fascinating Aida’s Brighton show was certainly apt as the trio took on everything from politics to sex in musical form.
Fascinating Aida was formed in 1983, and has been through a few line-up changes since, with Dillie (who you might recognise from Grumpy Old Women, although she has a very varied stage career) the founder and longest-serving member.
She was joined on stage by her long-time collaborator Adele Anderson and the newest and youngest member of the group, Sarah-Louise Young. It’s a trio that works really well:each is a strong singer with impeccable comic timing, but brings their own take to the mix.
How often do you see women, especially older women, on stage or screen being ribald, funny, dirty and political? Not often enough, and certainly not in song.
The evening started with a song about tax evasion - Companies Utilising Nifty Tax Schemes (“or cunts”) and didn’t let up.
Short ‘song cycles’ satirised the week’s news, and a rather amazing ‘yoof’ parody included both the wonderful sight of Dillie Keane moonwalking and lines from Whip My Hair, while the ‘Love’ songs turned out to focus on sex (Dogging and One Night Stand) or polyamory (Mr and Mrs and Me).
You can sample a little of the FA goodness on their website - but it's an act that works far better in person than through a screen.
Somehow, possibly through extreme nose wrinkling and ill-hidden disdain, I seem to have attained the position of music snob amongst my friends. Squeamish Bikiniers, this is simply not true. Okay it is. But pretending to have never heard of Lady Gaga (it is true that outside ‘that song with Beyoncé’ I cannot tell the difference between any of her tracks) does not mean I am void of the guilty pleasure of pop.
I've wanted to see a play at the Globe for as long as I’ve known about it, and now I have fulfilled that dream. I’ll be going back; it’s a fantastic setting and the play I saw, Much Ado About Nothing, used the space to its full advantage, talking to and walking through the groundlings. The first thing we commented on? “Oh my god, is that Geoffrey from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air playing Leonato?!” Yes it was, and he was very good, but there is much more to talk about...
I focused on Beatrice and Benedick, as it’s their interplay between that holds the play together; if anyone tries to argue that Hero and Claudio are the central couple then they’ve missed the point.
When I read Much Ado, I have to admit I never paid much attention to Benedick, apart from as a foil to Beatrice. She was the one who interested me, and he was just there for her to banter with. Shakespeare’s women are not always easy reading, but Beatrice is my second-favourite heroine (Rosalind from As You Like It has to take the crown).