Female musical trio Fascinating Aida are most famous for their song "Cheap Flights", which has clocked up almost 10 million views on YouTube (as the performers themselves put it, the clip didn’t go viral, it went fungal). What might surprise new fans is that the group (through various line-ups; think a satirical Sugababes and you’re halfway there) have been performing their brand of musical comedy cabaret for thirty years. These impressive statistics mean that Fascinating Aida have an equally impressive fan-base, in terms of both scale and enthusiasm.
The groups’ latest offering, The Cheap Flights Tour, is a simple production that knowingly gives its intended audience exactly what they want. A piano, three music stands and a couple of chairs are all that support the performers as they trill their way through songs old and new. Most of the repertoire is humorous and topical, with only two welcome deviations from this, just about saving the show from becoming a one-trick pony.
These changes in dynamic also serve to demonstrate that the performers have a range beyond the satirical. Clearly skilled and talented as vocalists, the songs that depart from the default tongue-in-cheek tone are heartfelt and moving. The performers are clearly having the time of their lives, as were the roaring audience on the night that I attended.
For my money, some of punch-lines in The Cheap Flights Tour are clunky and predictable, one of the numbers a disappointing and unoriginal take on youth and ageing (three women smart enough to know better putting on big trainers and rapping ‘shizzle ma nizzle’, anyone?) and generally it all seemed a bit (whisper it) old fashioned.
That said, this was certainly not the opinion of the vast adoring crowd. And who am I to argue with the delight of them and ten million others?