A review of 'An Evening Without Kate Bush' at London's Soho Theatre
7 - 26 February, 2022
I remember vividly the first time that I heard and saw Kate Bush on Top of the Pops performing 'Wuthering Heights'; with her unusually high pitched voice, huge eyes, expressive face and balletic dance, the performance was mesmerising. There was simply no-one else quite like her either then, or now. An invitation to see 'An Evening Without Kate Bush', sounded like fun, and I was interested to see whether this would be a tribute act or indeed something rather different.
Seated at cabaret style tables downstairs in the Soho theatre (it was lovely to be able put my drink onto a table rather than clutch it throughout the performance), we were promised that it would be different. Different in that this show isn't a tribute show to Kate, it's a tribute to her dedicated fans, like my friend Tony. 'An Evening Without Kate Bush' is performed by Sarah-Louise Young, an actor, writer, director and acclaimed cabaret performer.
Over a career spanning five decades, Kate Bush has always attracted loyal and devoted followers. Tony is such a fan, he went to practically every night of the Hammersmith Apollo gigs a few years back. These super fans are known as Fish People.
We were asked by Sarah-Louise Young early in the show to identify ourselves as either Fish People or more casual followers of Kate Bush - maybe even preferring some of the covers. The woman sitting next to me identified as a Non-Fish Person. She said that she and Kate had a Twitter spat and the only place she could be sure not to bump into her was here! That type of banter characterised the evening. Such interaction with the audience, and the humour from both sides, really helped to make this something a long way from a tribute act.
'Running up that Hill' was the first single to come from the 'Hounds of Love' album, and again the performance on TOTP uniquely Kate. It's probably sacrilege to say that I actually prefer the cover by Placebo but it's also testament to Kate's skill as a song writer that it can be successfully performed by a band of such a different genre in a different decade.
The show started with Sarah-Louise wearing floor length veil and red LED singing the classic And Dream of Sheep for an eerie and atmospheric beginning. Sarah-Louise's voice is powerful in the big numbers such as Wow and Babouska, yet tender in Don't Give Up.
Through the use of fan correspondence we got to explore what makes both Kate Bush and her fans so special. Did you know that we've been mis-pronuncing Babouska all along? One fan sets Kate straight, and Sarah-Louise provides the corrected version. This was both impressive and funny.
Sarah-Louise explained the basis of Kate Bush's dance moves, and Kate's study of mine with Lindsay Kemp and how this enhanced her performances. A clever wardrobe meant that she was able to change-up her costume throughout the performance.
The climax of the show was, of course, the transformation into the Wuthering Heights' Kate Bush.
There was plenty of audience interaction; so if you do go, get into the spirit - wave you hands, sing the choruses, get on stage if invited, and have a banter with Sarah-Louise as she comes into the audience. There aren't many shows in London where the star personally thanks you for attending!
We were guests of Soho Theatre.
Soho Theatre Downstairs 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE Monday 7 - 26 February, 2022 at 7.00pm (no performance 13 & 20) Tickets: £12 - £21
Box Office 020 7478 0100 or book online at www.sohotheatre.com Age Recommendation: 16+ Running time: 1 hour