“We don’t do television because we’re just too rude,” laughs Dillie Keane with a familiar throaty chuckle.
Familiar, that is, to those who have seen her perform live on stage with her ‘soul sisters’ - Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman. The cabaret trio known as Fascinating Aida to their legion of fans retain something of a cult following since their television and radio appearances are a rare treat.
The stage may be their natural home but that doesn’t mean that Fascinating Aida are stuck in the past. On the contrary last autumn a catchy little number called ‘Song for Teachers’ became a YouTube hit gaining 100,000 hits within seven days of being posted. It followed hard on the heels of the song ‘Cheap Flights’ which has had 10 million hits to date - and still counting.
Ofsted inspectors, budget airlines, Victoria Beckham’s facial muscles, the bedroom tax, they’re all grist to Fascinating Aida’s mill.
“We’ve never wanted to be mainstream, though,” says Dillie, “and a lot of our material is just beyond the pale for television and radio.”
Filthy, witty and fabulous, Dillie Keane studied music at Trinity College in Dublin - music remains her first love - and acting at LAMDA. The surprise success of the newly-formed trio Fascinating Aida in 1983 temporarily derailed her promising acting career and, when Adele Anderson joined in 1984, a great writing partnership was born.
Five years later the trio decided to hang up their sequins and disband which enabled Dillie to return to solo performing. But by 1994 they had reunited and were back on the road.
“I often think that being in Fascinating Aida is like being in a marriage to someone you never proposed to, didn’t fall in love with and haven’t slept with!” said Dillie.
“When we’re not on tour we keep in touch and we love a good gossip. We fall out, of course, from time to time but it never lasts and we’re always glad to see each other.”
Away from the stage, the Fascinating Aida girls are more likely to spend their spare time at music concerts than watching the latest cult comedian.
“To be honest I consider that we are more of a musical trio than a comedy trio,” said pianist Dillie. “The music always comes first with us. I don’t know which modern comedians I like because I never get the time to watch them.”
Thanks to their You Tube success, the girls’ career has been reinvigorated and they are on tour with their new show Charm Offensive throughout 2014.
Dillie could win Mastermind on the subject of touring but being on the road is something she embraces enthusiastically. Fascinating Aida has played hundreds of theatres all over the country, toured Australia three times, visited New Zealand, San Francisco, New York and South Africa and played a number of London seasons.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else. We have great fun and, thankfully, people still want to come and see us. It’s great to hear the audience cheering us at the end of the show - there aren’t many jobs where that happens. We’ve never been off the road - and we’re too old to re-train.”
“We never set out with a plan. When we started out we had absolutely no idea if the act had legs or not. After 30 years we seem to have got the hang of it!
“Fortunately there are still plenty of things to joke about and in these days of recession and the banking crisis, it’s even more important to have a laugh. We definitely aim to continue to grow old disgracefully!”
Nominated for numerous awards, Fascinating Aida will be at the Victoria Theatre, Halifax, on Thursday, February 20 at 7.30pm. Tel: 01422 351158.