The Delightful Dillie Keane…
An interview with Fascinating Aïda’s Dillie Keane
How would you sum up your solo show?
It’s a lifetime distilled into a cabaret show. It’s quite moving and quite funny – well, very funny at times – and it’s a lifetime of looking for love. It’s songs with stories and, unlike Fascinating Aida which more takes pot shots at things, this is a very personal journey (although I hate to use the word ‘journey’ – it sounds like I’m about to say ‘I’ll reach out’ in a minute!) But it’s my story through song, some very old songs and one or two that are brand new.
What has influenced your song choices for the show?
They chose themselves. It was such an easy show to put together and it was a lovely show to put together too, because I just sort of shook everything and it all fell into place.
What made you decide to go it alone this time?
Adele (Anderson, who co-wrote the show) decided she wanted to go on holiday to North Korea so we decided we’d have three months off from Fascinating Aida. But I’m not very good with time off; I don’t like it so I decided I’d do a solo show. Then what happened is Adele was diagnosed with cancer and ended up in hospital instead of North Korea, so basically she had to take the rest of 2015 off and most of this year too until she gets fit and strong and clear and everything. I can only describe that as ‘a bugger’ and my little solo show, which was only meant to occupy me for three months, has suddenly grown. My producers loved it and said ‘We think you ought to do this more and people ought to see it because it’s a lovely show’ so I’m taking it around the country and I’m taking it to New York!
You probably get asked this a lot but does the show mark the end of Fascinating Aida?
I hope not, no. It would be very hard to go on without Adele. We’ve been together for 32 years.
Is it lonely being on stage without Adele and Liza Pulman?
We’ve always had solo moments in a show so it’s fine, but what I did find odd was doing pantomime and not seeing the others backstage. It’s more than just about being on stage together – it’s about a whole life. Liza came to see the pantomime one night and it was such a relief to be in the dressing room with her.
How has the show evolved since you performed it at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?
In Edinburgh you have to cut everything down to fit the 55-minute slot. So this is a longer show with an interval, which I like as well because you can create different moods and the theatres get a chance to sell drinks – which helps keep them open!
What’s the one thing you have to have with you when you’re on the road?
I suppose the obvious answer is make-up! The audience doesn’t want to look at me unmade-up – it’s a horrible sight.
What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Somebody once accused me of having an artichoke in my hair. I was most upset. It was a rather attractive flower on a clip and it looked lovely.
Who or what makes you laugh?
Miranda is terribly funny. She’s marvellous. And from the past it’s people like Fats Waller – people who did funny things with music. Rossini is another one. He wrote the funniest tunes and he understood better than anybody else in the history of music how to write a comic tune.
When it comes to comedy is there a line you wouldn’t cross?
You don’t know till you get there really. There are obvious lines you wouldn’t cross, like paedophilia, but they’d be known by the audience.
What do you hope audiences will take away from your solo show?
I’d like them to have the feeling of having had a really good evening and having spent their money wisely. That’s really important to me – that people have a really good time.