“Some days you have no choice but to fall into the arms of a tribute act,” deadpans Sarah-Louise Young, but An Evening Without Kate Bush is most definitely billed as a comedy, and Cary Gee was expecting a few more laughs.
“Once upon a time there was a voice called Kate,” intones Sarah-Louise Young.
She opens with I Dream of Sleep, taken from Bush’s conceptual The Ninth Wave, which makes up the second half of her masterpiece The Hounds of Love. Young sings it straight, in her own voice. An artistic decision which sets the tone for the remaining hour. This is no parody – that would be too easy – but neither is it a straightforward tribute – that would be pointless. What we are left with is a genuinely touching, but ultimately unsatisfactory love letter to a talent who exists, as she has always existed, out of reach of mere mortals.
Young is best known for Julie, Madly Deeply, her squinting, sideways look at fandom through the eyes of Julie Andrews. Her challenge here is How do you solve a problem like Kate Bush? And for much of this show the answer remains as elusive as Bush herself.
“This show is interactive,” Young tells us, less an explanation, more of a warning, as a pair of audience members are dragged on stage to bark the chorus from The Hounds of Love. They are certainly willing enough, notwithstanding the relatively early hour, but given the brevity of her show Young could afford to carry more of the workload herself, rather then relying on the obsessions of her audience.
Nonetheless, for once I’m ever so slightly disappointed not to be chosen. As with any meeting of devotionalists, (Kate’s fans are known as Fish People) there is a compulsion to outdo the person sitting next to you.
In this case audience members who have seen the real Kate Bush bask in a glow of righteousness that the rest can only aspire to. But they won’t have heard Kate sing any of the songs that Young performs this evening. Young’s set, which includes Babushka, James and the Cold Gun, and, of course Wuthering Heights, stops at the point where Bush’s recent concert setlist began.
“Half of you came here this evening to see Kate Bush,” says Young, “The other half came for a right good laugh.”
I’m not sure anyone left the Museum of Comedy entirely satisfied.