EdFringe 2018 Review: Fascinating Aida’s Adèle Anderson

Fascinating Aida’s Adèle Anderson
Rating: ★★
Venue: George Square Theatre

Adèle Anderson, famously part of British comedy-cabaret ensemble Fascinating Aida, brings a unique blend of classic cabaret and light anecdote to the Edinburgh Fringe this year in her first solo show in twenty-seven years. This set comprised of songs of disappointment, depression and death is delivered with Anderson’s trademark wit and comical anecdotes.

With musical director, Dean Austin by her side, Anderson enters with That Old Kurt Weill Song where it is clear that she is a captivating stage presence – seen in the dramatic flair brought to this and the subsequent musical numbers. This dramatism is perfect for a segue into Remember My Forgotten Man, Joan Blondell’s number from The Gold Diggers of 1933 and Cole Porter’s Love for Sale. Anderson makes these songs her own with a distinctive vocal delivery and engaging stage presence.

Anderson dips into performances of Black Coffee, It Never Entered My Mind and My First Night Alone – channelling these themes of heartbreak and resentment. This is perfectly encapsulated in original number, My Flat (penned with Tony Award winning Sarah Travis as Anderson notes she loves to say), a personal highlight which blends the performer’s comic delivery with themes of isolation and loss. Another appreciated note is the detail that Anderson provides before each song, with these humorous anecdotes and titbits giving the songs a further dramatic dimension.

Anderson sheds new light on Fairport Convention’s Crazy Man Michael and alludes to the sinister undertones in I (Who Have Nothing) which now feels like something of a stalker’s anthem. The performer’s delivery awakens this to full comic effect. We’re also treated to a rendition of ode to teenage death, Tell Laura I Love Her, before Anderson reveals the real reason behind the show’s inception – to perform Randy Newman’s sombre In Germany Before the War. This is paired with the Daniel Cainer penned The Road to Marseille (from Agnes Bernelle album Mother The Wardrobe Is Full Of Infantrymen), before we get warned of the connotations of “Hungarian Suicide Song” Gloomy Sunday. 

Fascinating Aida’s Adèle Anderson is a cabaret treat that blends witty anecdote with humorous performance.Whilst these songs are connected by their themes of disappointment and sadness, Anderson’s skill as a performer ensures this is not a sombre experience. 

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