Trio naughty but nice satirical treat

What's On - Joburg

Fascinating Aida – The Cheap Flights Tour

Cast: Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman

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Fascinating Aida

Venue: Theatre on the Bay

until: February 16

Rating: ****

One piano, three saucy females, and a good deal of attitude make for an evening of infectious fun, not without a dash of intellectual muscle: the trio known as Fascinating Aida (FA) are back in Cape Town and working their audience like a seasoned fisherman works a trout. The audience does not complain.

One has the impression of a pre-existing complicity between the comediennes and their patrons, given the anticipatory glee of the latter when one of the tried-and-tested favourites of the ladies’ established repertoire is announced: the infamous Dogging Song (concerning unorthodox copulation) is a case in point, as are the oft-updated, ever-topical Bulgarian Songs that punctuate the show.

Shrewd performers that they are, the threesome know better than to serve up the same familiar fare, however well received in previous productions. They present a judicious mix of something old (see above), something new (amongst which one of the ruder inclusions concerns Fifty Shades of Grey) and something blue, like the unexpectedly gentle, poignant Look Mummy, No Hands. This not only keeps interest alive for those who saw FA’s earlier shows, it gives nuance to the current offering.

The pseudo-erudite preamble to the first cycle of Bulgarian Songs has been refined to an art form in itself, and the content of this sine qua non of the show is a recurrent tread throughout the evening.

Sung a cappella, with suitably earnest demeanour, the lyrics of Keane deal incisively with a range of topics, from Lance Armstrong and Julius Malema to FNB’s spat with the government and the furore over The Spear. Clearly much homework has been done on the country hosting this 2013 version of FA.

A tactful touch is a song composed in praise of Camps Bay, obviously a favourite and by now familiar haunt of this trio, and – also in more serious mood – a nostalgic celebration of home, which for performers on semi-permanent tour is something of a longed-for luxury.

With the winning combination of Keane’s deadpan expression, Anderson’s dour charm and Pulman’s radiant smile, no wonder the three have their audience right where they want them: eating out of their hand(s).

This is a polished, professional and highly intelligent take on modern society, enlivened by salacious humour and robust language. Fascinating.

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