Edinburgh Fringe 2011
So, " the Blue Lady returns after her riotous 2010 Edinburgh debut. Can she slip her frame and escape her sullen guards to seduce the audience with voice and vice?"
After a delayed start due to a visit from the Royal Scottish Fire Brigade, The Blue Lady Sings Back went on without a hitch and gave us a slightly abridged but no less entertaining romp through all things blue. Get ready for an hour that is bonkers, Bollywood, and endearingly madcap.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this show; it’s somewhere between cabaret and performance art, a cocktail of comedy, music, and madness that delightfully surprises at every unexpected turn of the show. Very cleverly conceived and performed, this show had me hooked from the start, and this is entirely due to the Blue Lady’s warmth, joie-de-vivre, and complete commitment to the fantastical premise that art can come alive and get pretty rowdy.
With badly behaved art, a box full of surprises, and feline antics, there’s no text as such in the show; not verbal at any rate. Blue Lady needs no words to have lively dialog with the audience and with a constant flow of willing audience members to participate, the whole theatre is her playground and all of us invited guests to the party.
Blue Lady effortlessly endears us to her bizarre, alternative reality with charm and complete conviction and holds us there for the ride. The construct is a simple one and enthusiastically and whimsically executed. The only additional performer on stage is a droll partner-in-crime character who acts as an apt foil for the mischievous antics that the Lady gets up to. Reprimands follow and the premise that every action gets a reaction, every breaking of the rules has its consequence, leads us on a merry chase where attempts at breaking out of the box keeps us wondering what she could possibly get up to next.
With songs like ‘Pussy Cat Walk’, ‘Blame It On Mame’, and ‘Sometimes I Wish I Had A Gun’, there’s a theme of frisky coquettishness that is positively puckish and keeps things firmly tongue-in-cheek throughout the show. There are very few points of contention I can think of, except that whether by design or because of limitations of the venue, the lighting does the performance no favours. Her voice is definitely able to carry the music (after all, it is called The Blue Lady Sings Back) but it’s her characterisation that sells the songs.
Blue Lady takes us into a realm of playful impishness and joyful discovery and the Lady herself pulls it all off with shambolic sweetness and shimmering aplomb. And there’s even a ‘blue’ sing-along at the end and a kazoo group solo. If you don’t want to personally join in the fray, you better find some dark corner of the room to hide in. It’s kitschy, funky, imaginative, and utterly original and I found myself wishing that Blue Lady, in her feline incarnation, would pad over to me just so I could scratch her behind the ears.