Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Chaotic comedy cabaret troupe “The Dots” – a tour-de-force hour of brilliant vocals and genuinely funny routines.
The Dots are a 3-woman close harmony cabaret group, making their Edinburgh debut and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Their leader, Helen, is obsessed with making them famous, but there could be trouble ahead. One of the band has walked out and the understudy is on. Don’t worry, she’s had a bit of rehearsal, it’ll be fine. In a small room in Imagination Workshop, these women produce a tour-de-force performance, combining brilliant vocals and genuinely funny routines.
It’s a packed hour, the pace never lets up and neither do the laughs. I’ve seen a lot of comedy over the years and this is right at the top of the tree.
Helen (Helen Colby) introduces the other members – enter diva and mezzo-soprano Macey – or as she pronounces it French-style “Ma-say” (Cherrett) and hapless understudy Nerine (Skinner) as they threaten to burst the walls with a powerhouse Tina Turner number. Having shown us the high quality vocals, they then fall apart, gradually, as each number and routine explores a different catastrophe, no gag the same, no failure too ridiculous. Combined with this is a delightfully warm relationship with the audience and the participation feels completely in tune with the show – non-threatening and beautifully handled.
The personnel varies wonderfully. Macey won’t be happy until she’s allowed to do her new solo routine, so Helen and Nerine have to hold the fort. When Macey threatens to walk out, the other two get a short breather while she performs her brand-new theatrical form “Op-rique” – opera mixed with magic. Not only does she belt the number but she pulls off an impressive bit of sleight of hand too.
There are pace switches and costume changes to delight ear and eye. Scottish themed capes, especially designed to make Edinburgh audiences feel at home are just one of the highlights. Add to this increasing mayhem (a lovely routine where there are 3 microphones but only 2 voices) and slapstick (with bugles). Numbers range from the Andrews Sisters to Bonnie Tyler, all equally skilfully handled.
Colby is the drive, desperate to succeed at all costs, by turns the leader, fearlessly taking everything in her stride to whimpering mess, career in jeopardy. Cherrett constantly undermines her, with her eye on the prize and more than an occasional rustle of taffeta when she can’t have her own way. Skinner is a perfect clown, wide-eyed and innocent and completely committed to the cause – a costume reveal at the end of a number is just wonderful. Together, the dynamic of the show is unstoppable, appealing to all our feelings of wanting the underdog to succeed. Seriously, I haven’t laughed so much in years.
In short it’s a comedy triumph. What’s so impressive is the inventiveness, constant surprises and consummate skill. Go see them now while you can. They’re going to need a bigger venue – and soon.