Broadway Baby is talking to a couple of spicy, camp ladies about their upcoming show Flamin' Dames.
We are all highly experienced performers and the show combines retro glamour with high quality music, warmth, wit and more than a touch of camp!
Tell us about your show
Noel Coward and Ivor Novello take centre stage. We salute these “Queens of Song”, stars of London's Theatreland from the 1920's to the 1950's. Retro showbiz glamour gets a distinct theatrical twist as the spotlight falls on their public personas, private lives and friendly rivalry, from a first meeting in 1916. Flamin' Dames' show, directed by Annee Blott, blends witty anecdotes with iconic songs including Keep the Home Fires Burning, Nina from Argentina, Mad about the Boy and I Went to a Marvellous Party, alongside some lesser known musical gems with darker, spicier flavours.
Why did you decide to take your show to Space UK this year?
Symposium hall feels like right space for our style of show, good size with great acoustics for music and apparently comfy seats. Also terribly helpful venue management helped to sway it.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?
A run of 9 shows to a really diverse & unique audience. What an amazing showcase!
Why Edinburgh? What’s the attraction?
The amazing buzz and fabulous madness of the biggest Fringe Festival. The old world charm of the city with some of the most zany acts on the planet. (Also the most sophisticated - us!!)
Have you brought a show to the festival before?
Yes, but not as Flamin' Dames.
What makes your show unique amongst the thousands of others at the festival?
Coward and Novello have been done many times before but not in this format. Flamin' Dames concentrate on the relationship between these two giants of London's West End. We are all highly experienced performers and the show combines retro glamour with high quality music, warmth, wit and more than a touch of camp!
What has been the biggest challenge in getting your show ready for Edinburgh?
Deciding how to get it down to a slick & sassy 45 minutes - It was originally 1.5h so always tricky deciding what to lose. A few tears as we have grown attached to all the material but hopefully we've got the real gems. London preview show should tell us if we've got it right.
How did you create your show?
We created it together and it has grown organically over several years. We started off thinking we wanted to do a British programme of music and looked at Gertrude Lawrence and Beatrice Lillie, performers and friends of Coward and Novello. We gradually realised, however, that even as women we could channel Coward and Novello. We took a long time finding the pieces we wanted to sing and once we had a rough idea of what we wanted we called in our director, Annee Blott and, with Stephen Powell creating some unique arrangements.
Can you tell us a bit about your company’s background?
Flamin' Dames comprise Helen Whittington and Hilary Fisher. We are both classically trained singers but with pretty varied CV’s. We worked together originally over 10 years ago with a larger operatic ensemble but whittled it down to the two of us. We both wanted to do a lighter repertoire and devise our own shows more creatively. So was born Flamin' Dames. On the piano front we have worked with a number of honorary dames over the years. Stephen Powell came on board for previous show Luck be a Lady which we toured for 7 years on the Arts Council National Rural Touring Forum across the UK. He kindly stayed around for this show (known to us as “Queens of Song”) and has done lots of the musical arrangements so is now pretty integral to the show. We have also performed at London Jazz venues such as the late lamented Pizza on the Park", its successor, The Pheasantry as well as The Landor Theatre.
Production Company: Flamin' Dames
Venue: The Symposium Hall
Dates: 7th - 14th August incl.