Review: Fascinating Aïda's Adele Anderson at the Edinburgh Fringe
So, it’s a dreary evening in one of the best cities in the world. You’re surrounded by some of the finest comedians, musicians and actors in the UK. You can go to see any show you like, with literally hundreds to choose from. And you decide to go and see… a cabaret celebrating songs about “disappointment, depression and death”.
Of course you do!
At least, you do if the woman at the helm of said cabaret is the legendary Adèle Anderson of Fascinating Aïda. Her last solo show at the Fringe was 27 years ago, but she has spent that time away wisely: collecting songs from every era by songwriters who share her life view that “things can only get worse and undoubtedly will.” Shrouded in glamour and gloom, she took us through an hour of tunes inspired by all that is dreary – from breakups and stalkers to the odd proliferation of songs in 60s about teen couples who die. Cheery stuff – but I wouldn’t have changed a minute of it. I loved it.
I loved how neatly woven together the programme was, with every song lovingly selected with a story behind it, extremely slick and well put-together. I loved the silk curtains and her jewels and glitz, and the simple class of it all. And I loved her voice – clear and commanding, oozing with feeling and charm, and her delivery brought out unexpected notes of poignancy or humour where you wouldn’t expect them.
The repertoire swung from the aforementioned dead-teen-1960s bops to pure jazz, via folk songs and show tunes, so there was something for every taste. As long as that taste was for deepest, darkest doom.
Naturally, the most compelling sign that the show is a success was that it was sold out. Chock-a-block. And while the audience was a little on the older side, I had such a wonderful time that I didn’t even consider that after the first note. And for anyone doubting my ability to be the voice of a generation, I can vouch for the young people because I singlehandedly brought the audience’s average age down by about 38 years.
If this still hasn’t convinced you, then I have a more convincing argument still: I loved every minute of the show, despite desperately needing the loo, more or less from the moment I sat down. Now, I don’t know about you lot, but for me needing a wee is pretty much a state of crisis. Particularly when sat in an intimate (read, tightly-packed) auditorium with no means of escape. Usually I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything but my bladder – but bless Adèle Anderson, her talents were so great that I managed to get through the hour almost, almost without noticing.
So, there you have it folks, glam meets gloom in a show so good you’ll nearly wet yourself rather than miss the ending. High praise indeed.
And it’s on at the Assembly George Square Studios for just a few more days so hurry up and get a ticket if you can still snag one.