If character comedy tickles your funny bone then look no further than An Audience With Yasmine Day at Pleasance Courtyard. Quirky gags and belly laughs come thick and fast, with a wide-eyed enthusiasm (that at times teeters on the brink of deranged) for her humble back catalogue of ‘hits’, Yasmine Day takes her fans on a journey back in time to 1980 “all the way through to 1989.”
Quirky gags and belly laughs come thick and fast
For Yasmine this is not a comeback. As far as she’s concerned, she never left the spotlight. Yasmine Day (skilfully performed by multi-talented actress, singer and comedian Jay Bennett – formerly one half of sketch duo Next Best Thing) proudly regales the audience with tales along the way to her rise to the dizzy heights of ruling Dorking’s pub circuit. Yasmine fancies herself on a par with, if not surpassing, divas such as Celine Dion, Madonna and Bucks Fizz's Cheryl Baker. Yasmine is utterly deluded but her tragic lack of self-awareness makes her an outrageously flamboyant yet immensely likeable character.
An Audience With Yasmine Day is littered with well-conceived set up and punch lines that catch you off-guard, light-hearted audience participation – which reduces everyone to hysterics – and conjures up sheer nostalgia for some 80s classics such as Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse Of The Heart and Simply Red's Holding Back The Years. An hour in Yasmine’s company is crammed full of sketches affectionately mocking the time period in which leg warmers, big hair and shoulder pads reigned supreme. Not since Steve Coogan’s legendary musical comedy creation Tony Ferrino have I witnessed a character so perfectly lampoon the Eurovision Song Contest and all its whacky idiosyncrasies.
As we journey through the 80s, it does inevitably mean some content may well go over the heads of younger audience members or those visiting from abroad who are not au fait with British stars such as Bobby Davro. These references are fleeting funnies, however, and there’s plenty of silliness to be enjoyed by everyone. My only other criticism is intended as a compliment; Jay Bennett delivers such spine-tingling vocals that it’s hard to believe Yasmine Day could be a failed star. Far from being a washed up nobody, in this debut solo hour, Jay Bennett’s only just begun. Here’s to seeing what Yasmine Day has planned up her shimmering lamé sleeves at next year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.