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Kissing The Goldfish

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

‘Brilliant lyrics’ the Daily Express said of Kissing The Goldfish – praise they proudly include in their progamme blurb. Well, yes, the lyrics are brilliant, but that’s because they were written by the likes of Tom Lehrer, Eric Idle, Fascinating Aida and Stephen Sondheim.

So however good this late-night cabaret singing duo are, you can’t help but feel a little cheated to discover it’s cover versions only after you’ve brought your ticket. There were some tracks I didn’t recognise, such as a one about Norwegian tourists in London which could be original – or just gaps in my musical knowledge.

Charlie Bicknell is the undoubted star of the show, with a beautifully rich, seductive voice, full of cynical emotion and crisp as Pringles. She also gets to show of her slender frame in a serious of glamorous gowns – entirely gratuitous costume changes that add to the elegant production of the show, staged around a chaise longue and featuring a hoop suspended from the rafters, from which Bicknell lithely hangs upside-down in the showstopper.

Her singing partner Sebastian Michael gets several costume changes too, but the effect (except in one notable instance) is less dramatic. He is more workmanlike in his vocals, too, technically sound but without the power to move that Bicknell has.

The pair are accompanied by an unnamed pianist in song such as Lehrer’s Masochism Tango, which opens the show, The Song That Goes Like This from Spamalot and the satirical Yes But Is It Art? from Fascinating Aida. It’s a fine selection of songs, sung well, but when there is so much more original work around at the festival, spending an hour with Kissing The Goldfish seems like an indulgence.

Review date: 28 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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