La Boheme, with its prohibition era style, provides an ideal setting for Dexys Pete Saunders, who entertains with an hour of accomplished blues piano and bittersweet “love” songs. The clinking of bottles and glasses from the nearby bar adds to the ambience. As compere Vicious Delicious is absent there appear to be some cast changes to this year’s Fringe show. Running commentary full of dry wit was provided by Saunders himself. He is accompanied by Rudy, a sad white-faced sort of a clown, and also a burlesque dancer.
The result is a bluesy vaudevillian music hall experience, a little awkward and mildly confusing, but maybe that is the intent? The burlesque dancer seems like a last minute add-on who smiles and skillfully removes her clothing. Perplexingly she almost seemed to be wearing more at the end of the show than at the beginning. Rudy the clown character has some interesting and surprising talents and provided plenty of laughs, but I wasn’t sure of the point of him being there. Perhaps the choice of cast was influenced by the fact that most of the songs were about dysfunctional relationships.
For patrons wanting some good blues and clever songwriting this should provide a reasonably enjoyable evening. Many of the songs are very good, especially “It’s You, It’s Not Me”. The burlesque element is quite minimal so fans of this genre may not be as well catered for as they might expect. An early arrival is recommended if a comfortable seat is preferred (there was a good sized crowd so dancing was not an option).