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December 23, 2022

Find out more about An Evening Without Kate Bush

An Evening Without Kate Bush is heading to Harrogate Theatre on Wednesday 1st March and we cannot wait. Have a read of an interview with the creator of this critically acclaimed 5 star show to find out more!

What attracted you to Kate Bush as the possible subject for the show and were you a fan of her music before you created it?
I’ve aways loved Kate Bush’s music and as a child of the 70’s and 80’s remember that first appearance on Top Of The Pops and all those amazing videos and songs which followed.  Plus my brother fancied her a bit so her music was always floating through the house. Kate Bush is a true icon: her music is unique, spanning nearly five decades, winning countless awards and selling millions of records, but the woman herself is something of an enigma.

Not performing live for over 30 years between her 1979 Tour Of Life and 2014 Before The Dawn, she spoke to us through her music. In her physical absence, her fans created their own community: ’The Fish People’. They are at the heart of ‘An Evening Without Kate Bush’. We wanted to celebrate them through her music. That was the starting point of making the show.

Do you try and impersonate her in the show?
I never set out to impersonate her (I mean who could?) But it’s amazing how many people tell me I sound like her though. A few fans thought I was miming at the start of the show!

How hard is it to sing in her unique vocal range?
It’s definitely a vocally athletic workout! She sang them all live back in 1979 apart from ‘Hammer Horror’ (which we do in the two-act touring version of ‘An Evening Without Kate Bush’) so there’s no excuse not to do the same. What you hear on the albums is months of intricate layering of harmonies and different instruments, so it’s a more raw sound on stage of course.

I perform all the songs in their original keys and I think part of it is that she chose such specific phrasing and wrote such intricate melodies, hearing them instantly hot wires you back to the original.

Do you have to know her music and be a super-fan to enjoy AN EVENING WITHOUT KATE BUSH?
Absolutely not. It’s one of the biggest compliments the show has received. Of course if you are a super-fan you’ll hear lots of the songs you know and love plus some little hidden gems for those in-the-know. But none of that is at the expense of the audience members who have perhaps come along with a fan friend or just out of curiosity. We elevate and celebrate everyone and when someone tells me after the show that they didn’t know her work but are going home to listen to her music, then I am thrilled.

You say after the opening song, ‘And Dream of Sheep’, “She’s not here but you are!” How would you feel if the real Kate Bush was in the audience… and would you want to know in advance?
We would absolutely LOVE it if she came to see the show – although she’d have to wear a disguise as I think the audience would capsize if they knew she was in. When we were making it we always knew we wanted it to be something she would approve of – so it’s been created with love, respect and a hefty does of joyful eccentricity!

Friends of hers have seen it and loved it and in Chichester I had the great privilege of meeting one of her original ‘Tour Of Life’ backing singers, Glenys Groves. She was so enthusiastic about the piece and is still in touch with Kate so you never know… we might yet have an evening WITH Kate Bush one of these days!

The show focuses on her fans worldwide – what are the most bizarre you came across?
Kate Bush’s fans are really friendly and open! People have shared so many incredible and personal stories with me: there’s the man who proposed to his wife to ‘The Kick Inside’, the young lad who found the courage to come out to his parents after listening to ‘Wow’ and the couple who chose ‘Don’t Give Up’ as the first dance at their wedding. We’ve been touring a two-act version of this show around the country (with even more costume changes!) so I’m able to weave some of these new stories into the next night’s performance. We’ve also heard from fans who went to see every single ‘Tour Of Life’ date, have tattoos of her lyrics on their arms and folk who come to the show dressed as her.

Does the show change each night depending on the audience’s reactions?
No two shows are the same and I love that. It keeps it fresh and alive. I ask the audience what their favourite songs are or what’s brought them to the theatre and then weave their stories into the evening’s entertainment. We call it a ‘chaotic cabaret cult’ and it really is! It’s playful, anarchic, touching, hot and sweaty and full of music and laughter.

Imagine if Kate Bush made a tribute show about her fans and you come close to capturing the spirit of ‘An Evening Without Kate Bush’. Even if you just howl with the hounds or wave a hand in the air, you are still part of the experience. I love hearing people’s stories and I always come out into the foyer afterwards to chat to anyone who wants to stay and talk. The audience really make this show.

How difficult was it to decide which her songs to include?
It was a massive challenge as there are many across such a huge time span. Inevitably there are lots from her early alumnus. ‘The Kick Inside’ and ‘Hounds Of Love’ are a lot of people’s favourites and first experience of her work. When we were making the show we ran a poll on social media to see what songs people wouldn’t forgive us for not including! But we still had to leave some out. I adore ‘Deeper Understanding’ and ‘Under The Ivy’, for example. But if we put them all in its would be longer than ‘The Ring Cycle!’

We take well known songs like ‘This Woman’s Work’ and ‘Cloudbusting’ and give them a twist. So if you come to see ‘An Evening Without Kate Bush’ you might find yourself suddenly singing backing vocals or slow dancing with your partner at the school disco. If you speak Russian, you might enjoy joining in with my version of ‘Babooshka!’ The longer touring version allows us to include some surprises like her cover of Sexual Healing and a little slice of Pi.

Why do you think Kate Bush remains so adored and intriguing to so many people after all the decades?
Her fans have travelled with her and as she has evolved as an artist, she has become the soundtrack to their lives. That’s my oven-ready hypothesis. I also think she influenced so many other artists that the whole music scene is steeped in her musical juices as it were. She was one of the first people to experiment with the Fairlight, she mastered complex sampling of vocals including the Trio Bulgarka from Hungary and if you read the list of pop royalty lining up to play a couple of bars on her albums everyone wants to work with her. She never shied away from writing about the largeness of life either, epic themes, the loneliness of love, the wonder of creation, the sensuality of being human. Her albums are somewhere you can climb inside and dream in. She’s one of us and yet totally Other. She’s a tea drinking mum and an Ivy Glad Goddess.

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