Fascinating Aida - Charm Offensive (Salford)
Carmel Thomason finds Fascinating Aida on top form at the Lowry.
After 30 years there is nothing tired about Fascinating Aida, and the their latest show Charm Offensive is sure to bring them even more fans – not least a new following of teachers.
Indeed, if the huge applause for the trio's Ofsted song is anything to go by, teachers have a sympathetic ear in the audience already. "Does anyone know what Ofsted actually stands for?", the youngest member, Liza Pulman asks, before revealing it to be, "Overpaid f***ers shafting teachers every day."
There are many jokes that I couldn't repeat here, for obvious reasons. Yet, when singing sweetly, these women can get away with saying just about anything, and they do. The lyrics are often not so much near the knuckle as on the bone, but songwriter Dille Keane has a habit of cutting to the quick with a witty, piercing truth and wry look that means the audience will forgive anything and find it hilarious at the same time.
This time around, there are plenty of laughs directed towards Dille's generation of baby boomers, with their boomerang kids and attempts at understanding "yoof" culture, as P.Dillie raps about being bootlicious in her padded spanx.
There is a nod to the economic climate in the Euro double-dip dance, and a surreal look at genetic modification with a rhumba dancing beetroot. We get to hear the favourites and now You Tube sensations, "Dogging" and "Cheap Flights" – which are no less funny however many times you hear them.
However, this time round the show is also a little more personal. Adele Anderson sings about her experience as a prisoner of gender, with a careful balance of humour and pathos, while Dillie's solo about her mother is unexpectedly touching.
The personal touch extends to the encore, with a song about the Lowry and Salford, which although at times misjudged, is nonetheless well-observed.
- Carmel Thomason