Comparison is the reviewer’s critical tool, and at 35 shows into the Fringe of 2023, it is only getting sharper!
In the world of good, better, best, this one is good but could be better. And ironically, front singer Reine Beau might well be the first one to stand up and agree.
In this brand new show, the winning Night Owl docu-style formula works really well with video and audio clips from Blondie’s back story throwing new light on areas that even die-hard fans might be surprised to see and hear. There is also the superb musicianship of the Night Owl band, who are as usual fantastic and note perfect. What works less well is Beau straining at times to reach the intensity and high notes of the new age Punk sensation that was Debbie Harry.
Less than half way through the run I really feel for Beau, whose honesty and integrity as a performer shone through. To some extent, trying to emulate a living legend, who even this year is still touring and headlining at Glastonbury, was always going to be a tough one, and so it proved.
A bit of a rush through Blondie’s back catalogue in less than an hour, we revisit the classics – Atomic, One way Or another, Picture This, Hanging on the telephone. A highlight is Call Me with Beau really opening up (and hopefully not damaging the engine!) like the high powered sports car she is and with a great keyboard solo to boot.
Beau is on later as Amy Winehouse, a show she has toured extensively, around the world for the last few years, where I just know she is going to be a whole lot more comfortable. And if she relaxes, we relax.
Blondie and Winehouse in one day, every day for a month?! That’s proving to be a stretch too far.
Reviewer: Greg Holstead
Reviewed: 13th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: