Yasmine Day: Songs in the Key of Me | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
review star review star review star review half star review blank star

Yasmine Day: Songs in the Key of Me

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Was she a big-in-the-1980s pop star now eking a living on a low-rent pub circuit – or a deluded diva whose past triumphs are all in her head? Yasmine Day’s backstory isn’t entirely clear, but know that in her mind, at least, she’s an A-list celebrity who deserves better than to be here now.

She’s arrogant, self-serving and demanding, with a touch of the Margaret Thatcher about her unbending will. Attention is her currency, and she demands it all times. Yet despite what that sounds like, the insecurities and desperation that peek through – and the fact she’s got true musical talent – makes her more endearing than monstrous.

Songs In The Key Of Me has all the trappings of an elegant, glitzy cabaret – big hair, sparkling dresses, for both her and her pianist Barney, committed choreography and a West End-quality voice. The woman under Day’s wig, Jay Bennett, is a graduate of Berklee College of Music – whose alumni include Quincy Jones, Melissa Etheridge, St Vincent and even South Park’s Trey Parker – so she has the musical chops required. Overqualified, if anything.

Several tracks are based on a half-assed grasp of a pressing social topic she cannot be bothered to commit to, be it glib environmentalism or empty assertions of feminist ideals. But when she’s sexually harassed, she excitedly trills: ‘Still got it!’ and sets the mixed-up sentiment to song.

Even when she writes a Christmas number, she hits all the essential clichés but skips on detail. Halloween is really her holiday, though, with a brilliantly daft song that will haunt your memory for days. 

Direct parodies are mostly shunned – though she amusingly mocks Lana Del Rey’s affected coyness - in favour of songs that can stand on their own merits. Many of the tracks necessitate a long build-up before the gags that undermine them, which makes them feel rounded, but does knock back the laugh rate. 

Banter largely revolves around the heightened sense of self she has as a celebrity, compared to the ‘normies’, mixed with shop talk about, for instance, how there’s no money in the arts. Barney is put-upon, as every musical sidekick must be, but he is so quiet and suppressed we can’t always hear what he says.

The humour tends to the wryly amusing rather than the laugh-out-loud, but occasionally a wildcard line – such as the one about the insane plastic surgery she’s supposed to have had, or the confession of her single flaw – punch through. And with 100 per cent commitment to her character, and the numbers, this is an unfailingly engaging hour.

• Yasmine Day: Songs In The Key of Me is on at PBH's Free Fringe at Voodo Rooms at 7.40pm

Review date: 7 Aug 2022
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.