In order to bring you a well-rounded review of Dillie Keane’s solo show, I did the near unthinkable and took a man with me. Yes, I know. Apologies to any of you who accidentally dropped a monocle into a cup of tea.
Dillie’s London run of the show is at The Pheasantry, on the King’s Road. It’s also a Pizza Express, which led to much confusion when we arrived. Suddenly the two-hour gap between doors opening and the show starting made a lot more sense. We’d been fools and eaten already, which baffled our waitress no end.
The two of us took our seats at a table perilously close to the stage, with the grand piano right in our faces. This would turn out to be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we had a perfect view of Dillie as she sashayed around the stage and sang for us. On the other hand, she didn’t pass up the opportunity to pick on the audience.
While Sam Cable ably kept the piano music going, Dillie pounced on audience members and gave them… some of her Irish sparkle, shall we say. The two of us were apparently the youngest people there, and our tendency not to carry cash ruined a moment where coinage suddenly became vital.
Little talks and quips linked the songs together in a way I wasn’t quite expecting. Usually, in Fascinating Aida shows where Dillie’s joined by Adele and Liza, the ratio of funny songs to sad/serious songs tends to favour the jokes. In her solo performance, I’d say it was closer to half and half. The switches in tone were a lot sharper – after giggling along with one of Dillie’s anecdotes, she brought us back to earth with a jolt and made quite a few people cry. There’s no denying the range of her voice and the emotions she can project
After a rollercoaster of moods and a sound tongue-lashing, I emerged feeling surprisingly positive. My male friend’s verdict? “Delightful!” Dillie, you’ve put on an amazing show.
When Dillie Keane’s show finishes at The Pheasantry on the 14th of June, she’ll be taking it to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for most of August. It’ll be the first time she’s done an Edinburgh show for 557 years, so don’t miss it.