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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 – An Audience with Yasmine Day review

Now that’s what I call musical comedy – 1980s edition.

Comedian Jay Bennett showcases an accomplished character comedy debut hour of a failed 80s singer and Dorking’s most successful pub singer in An Audience with Yasmine Day.

From the dramatic opening number to the closing finale, we experience a polished and hilarious whistle-stop tour down memory lane for the delectation of Yasmine’s loyal fans. Our hostess seamlessly weaves together glittering threads of alluring anecdotes, unique songs and fast jokes. Together they combine to imprint a faded memory on our own consciousness believing that we too were there 30 years ago when ‘Love Hurts When Eagles Fly’ hit the top 200.

The audience on this particular rainy Edinburgh night were a little thin on the ground, but Benett’s meta characterisation, banter and clever structuring confidently maintained the show’s pace and interaction. Thanks to a polished routine supported by excellent sound and lighting production Yasmine faced down a couple of rude audience members leaving ten minutes before the end with this playful and adaptable character. Perhaps reliving the 80s for these men was a little close to home and reminded them that they too had peaked too soon.

The rest of the audience were quite simply in the palm of Yasmine’s hand. There was even a meditative moment with a cover of Simply Red’s Holding Back the Years where one audience member was almost moved to tears recollecting a moment from his past.

There’s no doubt this is a fabulously fun, glitzy and entertaining affair, with the mannerisms of this character extremely well observed (I recently went to an audience with Joan Collins and I could barely tell the difference between their aptitudes for glamorous chit chat, but Joan didn’t sing) however Jay’s characterisation is layered with a beautiful melancholy. The show reminds us of not just the fine line between ambition and delusion, but the barriers women have faced in navigating the at times toxic music industry. Post #MeToo, we are left wondering how Yasmine would have fared today. By fiercely sticking to her values and creative vision with this 2019 comeback, I’ve no doubt that where there’s a will, there’s a Yasmine Day.

An Audience With Yasmine Day runs at the Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker Two. For more information visit https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/audience-with-yasmine-day

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