Kate Bush has come home... sort of. Eight years after she last performed in London, fans can gather for an evening of some of her most well loved songs. Only, she's not going to be there, as we are repeatedly told!
An Evening Without Kate Bush is the latest show from Sarah-Louise Young and Russell Lucas - the team responsible for Julie Andrews based show Julie Madly Deeply. After blowing audiences away at the Edinburgh Fringe, it has transferred to London for a residency at Soho Theatre ahead of a forthcoming tour.
Sarah-Louise Young commands the stage as she channels all of Kate Bush's iconic quirks and amplifies them. Whether it's dissecting her dance moves, shouting out the names as she does them, or lovingly recreating Kate's mannerisms, she essentially becomes Kate Bush herself... until she reminds us again that she's not actually her.
Clearly a fan of the lady herself, Sarah-Louise Young isn't afraid to make fun of her as well, with hilarious dialogue interspersed throughout the evening - often mid-song. Telling the audience they had been pronouncing 'Babooshka' wrong all this time, encouraging them to join in with the correct pronunciation... as she sung the whole thing in Russian. Brilliant use of props elevate the performances, with some oversized eyes an undoubted highlight. Then there's the costumes, with brilliant interpretations on some of Kate Bush's instantly recognisable looks.
The humour doesn't detract from the clear talent on that stage as Sarah-Louise Young is in fine form, replicating Kate's iconic vocals. Hearing those classic songs performed in such a small space, it would be easy to fool yourself into thinking Kate Bush was actually there... but, again, she isn't. Her vocals on classic numbers including 'Running Up That Hill' and 'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' were awe-inspiring to witness, with a particularly exhilarating rendition of 'Wow' among the highlights of the all too short evening.
With a room full of Kate Bush's adoring fans, Sarah quipped "There's nothing more devoted than a fan of the Bush" and she just might be right. Hearing the audience howl away with her to 'Hounds of Love' and take the mic to lead an impressively tuneful 'Wuthering Heights', it was hard not to be swept away by the passion and energy coming from both the stage and the audience. Even as someone who, shamefully, isn't overly familiar with much of Kate Bush's work aside from the obvious few songs, I definitely left that venue a fan of the Bush (Not like that, don't worry).
Audience interaction was the name of the game during this show, with two couples invited up on stage throughout the evening - to deliver backing vocals and do their best to recreate the 'Don't Give Up' video. Sarah also regularly stalked her way through the audience, breaking the walls down and creating an immersive atmosphere I couldn't help but buy into.
An Evening Without Kate Bush isn't a tribute concert. It isn't a parody. It isn't a comedy show. What it is is a unique amalgamation, delivered lovingly to create a fantastic, artful and tasteful performance. You may enter the theatre already a fan of Kate Bush but you will leave a fan of Sarah-Louise Young.
An Evening Without Kate Bush plays at Soho Theatre until February 26th 2022 with a tour around the UK kicking off in March. All dates and tickets at www.withoutkatebush.com