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An evening Without Kate Bush at Soho Theatre

There are tribute acts (which I avoid like the plague) and there are acts that pay tribute and thankfully An Evening Without Kate Bush is the latter. Sarah-Louise Young obviously loves her subject – she must do as she even performed as Kate Bush when she was thirteen in her school talent show even though her Miss Jean Brodie like teacher stopped her mid-flow tutting that a young girl in a unitard was in very poor taste. Now a few years later, Young gets her revenge on her prim and proper teacher and treats the audience to not only a tribute to one of the most original voices of the past forty years but pays homage with a superb show that delighted last night’s sold-out audience at the Soho Theatre.

AEWKB - Photo by Steve Ullathorne.
AEWKB – Photo by Steve Ullathorne.

Young is a consummate performer that not only can sing like Bush but is engaging, funny, charismatic and a joy to behold. She enters the stage with her back to the audience covered in a gauze creation and an outrageous wig that is wider than it’s high. Over the next sixty minutes or so, these are discarded for a variety of costume changes during which she plays a number of characters including mime artist Lindsay Kemp and the woman who cleaned the floor at the Hammersmith Apollo when Bush made her stage comeback in 2014. One of the highlights of the evening is Young performing “Babooshka” in Russian with the stress on the first syllable which it seems is how it should be pronounced. During the show, apart from the costume changes, Young races around the stage and then into the audience one time carrying two large lamps that have blinking eyes on them.

There’s even audience participation, something not seen on stage for the past two years but with social distancing and masks of course.

Young has endless energy and towards the end, she was running around and doing cartwheels across the stage before changing into yet another costume or using a mop head as a wig and delightfully as a merkin!

During the evening Young sings most of Bush’s best-known songs including “Running Up That Hill”, ‘Don’t Give Up” and “Hounds Of Love”. It looked as the show moved towards its conclusion that she was going to avoid singing the obvious, “Wuthering Heights” but she then she changed into a white, Victorian dress and yet another wig and the intro to the song started. But Young was just teasing as she turned the microphone away from her and let the many Bush fans in the audience sing the song whilst Young did the iconic moves that are so familiar to anyone who remembers the original video of the song and sing they did.

Sarah-Louise Young is a force of nature and the sixty minutes or so just flew by. Her voice is as powerful as Bush’s, she moves around the stage with feline grace and is as funny as any stand-up. She has great charisma and even stood outside the theatre when it was all over saying thank you to the audience for coming.

An Evening Without Kate Bush is made by Young and Russell Lucas and superbly directed by the latter. It’s a loving tribute to a singer who has been almost a recluse since becoming a star all those years ago. Bush isn’t there on stage but her spirit is and it’s brought to life with love and joyfulness by a wonderful artist at the top of her game. Do go and see it even if you’re not a fan of Kate Bush or of her singing – Sarah-Louise Young would be fantastic whatever she was doing.

5 Star Rating

Review by Alan Fitter

Enter Strange Phenomena, howl with The Hounds Of Love and dance on the moors with Wuthering Heights.
Kate’s not there, but you are.

Acclaimed performer Sarah-Louise Young (Cabaret Whore, The Showstoppers, La Soiree) has teamed up with theatremaker Russell Lucas (Warped at VAULT Festival) to explore the music and mythology of one of the most influential voices in British music.

John Mackay presents
An Evening Without Kate Bush
Soho Theatre
21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE
Monday 7 – 26 February, 2022 at 7.00pm
Age Recommendation: 16+ Running time: 1 hour


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