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An Audience With Yasmine Day – Edinburgh Fringe

Yasmine Day -  Credit Adrian Tauss
Yasmine Day – Credit Adrian Tauss

An Audience With Yasmine Day is certainly on at the right time of night for intrepid Edinburgh Fringe punters – it’s the kind of late night over-the-top madness the Fringe does best. The audience has, as ever, suspended disbelief at the door of the theatre, or in this case, the door of the bunker (for those who may not be aware, virtually anything is a Fringe venue, including university lecture halls (best for reviewers who wish to make notes), hotel meeting rooms across Edinburgh (the best places to be on a hot day because of the air conditioning), a large tent and a double-decker bus). In keeping with the suspension of disbelief, Yasmine (Jay Bennett) had great success in the 1980s, and namedrops the likes of Kim Wilde, Madonna and Cheryl Baker, amongst many others.

From the opening to the closing number, it’s gloriously over-the-top, and the more absurd it got, the more amusing it became. The music video for Bonnie Tyler’s rendering of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ was wonderfully parodied, at low budget, to good comic effect, assisted by two other performers who were generous with talcum powder and promptly handed your reviewer a lit candle to hold. And there’s intermittent interaction with the audience, who – another assumption – are apparently sat amongst celebrities who have come to see Yasmine perform.

This isn’t, the audience is assured, a ‘comeback’ – for Yasmine has never gone away. There are some comedy moments to truly savour, including one where she performs only the backing vocals on a track, and another (my personal favourite) where she sings ‘Eternal Flame’ purely by singing just the vowels. As for musical theatre, it’s immensely difficult, she says, to sing and act simultaneously. “It’s just like doing this,” she muses, with more than a modicum of irony, patting her head and her stomach at the same time.

Another tune went from one extreme to the other in the same song, channelling both melancholy and cheerful moods – bizarre but nonetheless hilarious. I don’t follow the Eurovision Song Contest, but it is playfully ridiculed here. Then there’s ‘Love Hurts When Eagles Fly’, described as “a top 200 hit”, complete with eagle-like wings and enthusiastic dance routines. The show’s entire package is a delight – the exaggerated facial expressions, the almost painfully dry wit, the ridiculous but also strangely credible anecdotes. A confident and assured performance.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Meet failed 80s diva and Dorking’s most successful pub singer Yasmine Day. A self-proclaimed superstar, Yasmine (character comedian Jay Bennett) boldly attempts to revive her flagging career with a last ditch effort to pull off
shoulder pads and a cabaret extravaganza with the help of her loyal fans (AKA the audience!)

An Audience With Yasmine Day
Venue: Bunker Two, Pleasance Courtyard
Time: 22:30
Dates: 31 July – 25 Aug (Not 13 or 20)


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