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Fascinating Aïda

The songs are hilarious and topical – the glamour is unstoppable. With three Olivier Award nominations, 3 New York Drama Desk nominations and over 25 million YouTube and Facebook hits, how can you possibly miss them?

We speak to Dillie Keane, founder member of 'Fascinating Aïda' about the new show, touring the UK and embracing the digital age. Plus, you can win two tickets to see their Bath Forum show...

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Saturday 29th January 2022

at The Bath Forum

It’s fantastic to see you back out on tour, how much have you been looking forward to performing again?

 

It’s like all my Christmases come at once. I dread the day I’m too old for the road.  
This is a brand-new show isn’t it? So, can we expect some new songs as well as some of the classics?

 

Absolutely.  And of course, we update the show regularly as we go along. Although it comes as a shock to think I’m old enough to have written “classics”... 

With everything that has happened over the past two years, have you been constantly writing whilst in lockdown? And when on tour, do you still write then to keep things current?

 

I wish I could say I’d used my lockdown time well, but the truth is, I don’t really enjoy singing to my iPhone. I did write three songs which I was proud of, proud enough to record and put them on YouTube, but it’s not much of an output for 18 months… 

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I understand you also tailor your songs for each place you perform, will you be tapping into the history of Bath for your Forum show?

 

Oh, we research very carefully. Very carefully indeed. Our local knowledge is vast and extensive. In the past, for instance, the cost of a cuppa at the Pump Room has come in for a bit of a drubbing.  

 

When writing a song, do you automatically know if it will connect with audiences?

 

Most of the time, we have a fairly good nose for a good song.  A very few times over the years, we’ve got it spectacularly wrong. A song called “Be Nice” made Adele and I howl, but the audience yawned. Another recent effort explaining Bitcoin left people looking bewildered and rushing to the bar for gin. 

What was the first song you wrote? Can you remember the influence behind?

 

I wrote a song called Swinging Little Muddletown On The Puddlemarsh.  It was a kind of hippy-dippy Beatles-ish Mr. Kite-ish song, I sang it on the guitar, and the subject matter was inspired by my annual holiday in Dorset. I was tickled pink to think there were places called Puddletown and Piddletrenthide.  

"Our local knowledge is vast and extensive. In the past, for instance, the cost of a cuppa at the Pump Room has come in for a bit of a drubbing."  

Have you always been a bit of a performer?

 

I suppose so. I was precociously musical and my mum would make me play for friends. And my sister Anne was a terrific teacher and my first performable number was “I’m Poor Little Buttercup” from HMS Pinafore. 

When did you realise that this could become a career for you?

 

It slowly dawned on me from the age of about 12 that I couldn’t bear to do anything else.  

You became viral sensations when you uploaded ‘Cheap Flights’ onto You Tube. How prepared were you for the reaction? It’s reached nearly 6 million views!


Actually, there are a few YouTube sites for that song (even a couple translated into Russian and Hebrew!) and the aggregate was nearly 13 million last time we looked. I felt vindicated rather than anything else.  I remember hanging out the window of an apartment in Amalfi to get a signal when we approached the first million. It was truly gripping!

 

You’ve always been technologically aware though haven’t you. Weren’t you one of the first acts to have a website?  

 

Yes, I think we were the first act with a website in this country.  I remember our then manager was very puzzled by my insistence that we get one.  I kept saying “It’s a shop window in the sky…”. We had a blog before anyone else I knew too - only the word hadn’t been invented, we called it a web diary. And now we’re leading the way against printed programmes - our very stylish and informative programme is free to download from the website.  

How can readers keep up-to-date with your tour and all things ‘Fascinating Aida’?

Through the website www.fascinatingaida.co.uk, of course! Adele and Liza are fairly assiduous on Instagram, I find it rather a bind. I prefer Twitter and I give good Facebook. 

Win

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two tickets to see Fascinating Aïda at the Bath Forum, on 

Saturday 29th January. For a chance to win, simply click the link below and follow the steps. Good luck!

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“Engages the brain as well as the funny-bone”