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A triple-threat funny bone assault

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TO Fascinating Aida etch

Fascinating Aida. Picture: Steve Ullathorne

Fascinating Aïda – The Cheap Flights Tour

CAST: Liza Pulman, Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson

VENUE: Montecasino’s Pieter Toerien Theatre

UNTIL: Sunday

RATING: ****

The thing about Fascinating Aïda as a group is that they’re celebrating 30 years in showbiz in a few weeks time – and it shows. They were last here two years ago, they’ve picked up on their audience and they’ve added even more local flavour than the first time to bring everyone on board.

Not that the audience needs any encouragement with this bunch. They’re here to entertain and that’s their mission. It’s not only the material which is thoroughly modern and without modesty and the throwback appeal of the genre that works so well, it’s also the different style of the three performers that makes all of it such a perfect fit.

There’s an individuality, a dead-pan delivery that comes from different angles, an angelic approach and a voice or two that for different reasons – all good – might shatter glass.

I heard someone say as we leave: “You have to be English to get this”, but I don’t think so. Even age doesn’t really come into it. If you’re the kind of person who wants to escape reality but do it with your thinking cap on, this is it. And you will giggle throughout because it’s wonderfully wicked.

It’s also unpredictable. There are a few sketches from their previous visit but there’s also some moments that will catch you unawares, stop the spontaneous laughter and shift you into a different yet also magical space almost abruptly and most poignantly.

The show is loosely strung together by songs composed by Keane with the lyrics often a combined effort. There’s not much they don’t sing their way through and there’s mostly always a sting or two or three attached. But that’s the thing, even though you scream with laughter, it’s because they’re pushing buttons and ignoring the status quo.

If you don’t go for anything else but their Balkan Song Cycle which closes with a review that melts every South African heart with even the smallest sign of life, it will be worth the time and trouble.

It’s the kind of show that bungles you into the new year in the best possible way. Who wants to know that 2013 is up and running? They’ll get you started, leaving the theatre with a smile, and some food for thought that will amuse and perhaps even bewilder.

What more can you ask for?


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