Tuesday, 8 February 2022

REVIEW: An Evening Without Kate Bush at the Soho Theatre

As I descended the stairs of the bustling Soho Theatre I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I knew that I already liked Kate Bush- but I had no clue how a ‘tribute act’ style show could play such homage to our favourite Celtic Queen.   

Seasoned cabaret performer- Sarah-Louise Young- is the perfect blend of eccentric and compassionate. I get terrified whenever I smell a whiff of audience interaction, but Young does it with such care for the audience members and genuine desire to connect that you can’t help but put aside insecurities and let her take you on a rambunctious journey of self-discovery and mayhem.

Rather than just performing the songs, Young and theatre-maker Russell Lucas have weaved together an intricate story that focuses on the fans of Bush and the connection that ‘Fish people’- as Bush fans are affectionally called- can build amongst each other. She talks about people connecting online from all over the world and in a very moving moment performs a monologue from people all over the world, underscored by ‘Don’t Give Up’. It really hits home the remarkable legacy this singer had had. Did you know, for example, she was the first women singer/songwriter to reach number 1 on the charts.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to listen to Young sing Kate Bush songs at me for an hour. Her voice is crystal clear and a wonderful impersonation without feeling too forced. However, she’s managed to elevate the show by making it about us. The audience.

Some personal highlights included Young donning the role of a cleaner who swept the stage when Bush performed at the Hammersmith Apollo, singing ‘This Woman's Work’. Another brilliant moment was when Young broke down the iconic Bush moves. She’d been passed them down by the very first Kate Bush impersonator- Jackie. Something is satisfying about seeing the mechanics of how an impersonation is built.

I believe you could still get a lot out of the show without being a hardcore fan. It’s a piece that examines the joy of fanaticism and unity and therefore it isn’t integrally about Bush, but rather our need to belong.

Review by Max Barber 

Rating: ★★★★
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