FRINGE REVIEW – The Red Show, C Venues


18-30 Aug, 2150 (2240)  @ C Venues

This is a show of “what-ifs” – what if it had been staged in a more intimate cabaret setting? What if Ivy Paige was playing to a full house? What if there were a few more upbeat songs? What if Pete Saunders’s able keyboard skills were backed up by a full band? What if backing singer Vicious Delicious was given more to do? One can imagine that the production could have turned on any of these, and ended up unmissable.

As it is, this is a good solid show that deserved to be attracting a decent crowd. Ivy Paige has a beautiful voice and an engaging onstage persona, ranging from fragile Lolita to sassy siren, and when she takes a break from her closing number to hug each member of the audience in turn, it is impossible not be won over.

Support comes from pianist Pete Saunders (ex-Dexy’s Midnight Runners) whose skills really shine through on his single solo effort here, and Vicious Delicious, a heavily pregnant chanteuse whose comic timing hints at a much greater talent which is not fully displayed.

The songs, though they showcase an admirable vocal talent and considerable songwriting skill, are a slightly odd mix. They are largely downbeat numbers and straight ballads. Paige obviously has considerable comic talent but this is deployed in her onstage banter rather than her music, and a few more upbeat numbers would not go amiss.

However one can’t help but feel the biggest issue here is the small audience at this performance. It seems clear that Paige is used to a larger crowd and enjoys the chance to feed off her audience’s energy, and this clutch of jaded end-of-the-Fringe folk just don’t have the energy to spare!

It is frustrating to feel that, despite having all the ingredients for a great show, this just doesn’t quite come together to be what it obviously could be. Here’s hoping that Paige finds that key missing ingredient before the end of her run, as she could so easily turn out to be a Fringe force to be reckoned with.

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