Fascinating Aïda (Glasgow International Comedy Festival) ★★★★★

Cabaret stalwarts Fascinating Aïda play Glasgow’s Comedy Festival to herald 40 years of musical mayhem.

There’s comfort in the familiar. And Fascinating Aïda’s offering is reassuringly so. The trio have, in various line-ups, been entertaining punters with their brand of salty sing-a-longs since 1983. Rightfully feted as entertainment royalty, this anniversary show celebrating their enduring appeal makes it obvious why. 

Like Gilbert and Sullivan with a side order of sauce, Dillie Keane, Adéle Anderson and Liza Pulman ripped through ditties taking in everything from mortality, biting back at millennials, Tory MPs, and, er, euthanasia! If not all of this sounds like obvious fare to mine for comedy, the smart wordplay never fails to find the absurd to poke fun of. Rhymes don’t always go where you think they will, and when they do veer towards the obvious, the audience is already tittering in anticipation of the pay off.

Images by Geraint Lewis

Although a show of mostly new material, some familiar classics are wheeled out. Cheap Flights gets the expected raptorious reception, made even funnier due to Keane’s mock grumpy delivery. “Let’s get this fuckin’ over with, shall we?” And “our love song”, Dogging, has the crowd singing along with the ribald content. 

Mostly accompanied on piano by music director, Michael Roulston, there’s a most unexpected break with tradition at one point, as the ladies go electro on new track, AI. Another surprise is that the newer material isn’t quite as potty mouthed as previous efforts. 

But amongst the outrageous barbs and catchy tunes, it’s often overlooked just what talented singers and skilled comedic performers Fascinating Aïda are. While Keane, in particular, is game to make fun of her advancing years, the skill required to pull off a show as physical as this should not be underestimated.

Dolled up to the sequins and beyond, Fascinating Aïda make it look effortless. With an enthusiastic audience lapping up every note, the ladies can do as many victory laps as they please. 

Forever fascinating ★★★★★

Tour Tickets

The Fascinating Aïda tour continues. 

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