Blondes, Edinburgh Festival Fringe review

Blondes marks Denise Van Outen’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut. With a mainly female capacity crowd, the Basildon Blonde introduced herself in silhouette, before emerging into the spotlight dressed in a figure hugging red skirt and top. Mae West, an appropriate choice, was the first Blonde to feature.

Basildon Blonde at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2009 promo

The voice which brought Van Outen roles in a myriad of West End and Broadway musicals, is the clear highlight of Blondes. Her vocal range and talent is on full show as hits such as Olivia Newton John’s ‘Get Physical’, Dolly Parton’s ‘Dumb Blonde’ and Kylie’s ‘Better the devil you know’ are belted out with aplomb. There’s also the traditional cabaret interaction with Mike Moran, who provides the musical direction.

However, Blondes is about more than the music and cabaret as the projector screen hints. When van Outen dons her glasses and starts to run through the Blonde stats the show’s format begins to demystify. The projector screen continues to feature as Van Outen describes childhood memories and what might have been with Britney Spears alongside photographs and a video of when she first spotted her future husband. I guess Blondes could be described as a brief Denise Van Outen retrospective - filled with quips, jokes, stories and songs of her favourite blondes. It’s not easy seeing a media star give such personal recollections on stage and I’m sure some audience members will warm to it and some will cool.

Especially in the first half of Blondes I wished the brilliantly recited songs had continued in their entirety, rather than be interrupted by such dalliances as inspecting a Scot’s kilt on the front row. When a pitch perfect and energy filled version of Madonna’s ‘Like a prayer’ was broken by the appearance of lyrics it turned into a karaoke frenzy; perhaps too early in the evening for this! I’d also have preferred the Essex girl to nail it herself, rather than the women me behind murder it!

Blondes is an entertaining watch and an early evening conversation starter. I suspect Blondes won’t struggle to pull in the crowds and that’s fair enough - worth a watch.

Blondes is showing at Udderbelly’s pasture (The Cow Barn) until 31st August 2009.

9 Responses to “Blondes, Edinburgh Festival Fringe review”

  1. I saw the show and thought it was fantastic! Great songs, funny stories and generally a good night out!

  2. I went to see “Blondes” last night, a very entertaining show by Denise Van Outen, enjoyed all the singing and jokes. Very good night apart from the woman sitting next to me who decided to sing to every song and was starting to get on my nerves !!

  3. I saw the show last night and found that there was not one minute of the show which can be considered good entertainment.
    To start with the dress is terrible.
    Her vocal range is clearly limited and the song choices meant were, on the most part, lame.
    I was disappointed, no gutted with her wooden delivery of some ridiculously sentimental stories. Her timing was completely off and the “jokes” were generally thinly veiled insults.
    She did not have any rapport with the audience and had no ability to come ” off script” to interact with a live audience.
    Just because you are a household name does not mean that you can pull off a show at the fringe. This is a place where ego needs to be left at the door. This was was just an hour of egotistical rubbish. I did laugh, lots, BUT I was laughing at a woman with little talent trying to convince the audience that she is as good as she thinks she is.
    I have never seen anyone who loves themselves as much as denise van outen.
    If there is anyone who does not agree then please go and see other shows at the fringe and compare them. Bloodbath:the musical has some amazing singers in in..stunningly brilliant. Van outen can not compete with people with real talent and stage presence.
    I work in theatre and see many different shows and this is by far the worst thing i have ever seen.

  4. I thought the show was fantastic. I would encourage anyone to go. I really did not expect to enjoy the show as much as I did.
    I agree that the jokes were not as good as the singing but they were ok. I was not a Denise Van Outen fan before I went but her fabulous singing and audience sign along made for a tremendous show.
    My husband and I enjoyed every minute of the show and Denise ended up with a standing ovation.
    Great value for money!

  5. I really enjoyed this show, Denise has a beautiful singing voice, the jokes were all very tongue in cheek, There is no doubt that she is a very talented all round entertainer that could easily have held an audience for a lot longer than the length of time , approx one hour that ‘Blondes’ runs for. My only negative comment is it would have been better with a later time slot 5.50pm wasn’t the best time slot for this show a later time probably around 9pm would have attracted a younger even mor responsive audience.



    she was such a good singer, and her stories were really funny! ok, so they weren’t vital to the show, but i still loved it! :)

    go denise!!!

  7. Saw the show this evening(22/08/09).
    Denise was fabulous-brilliant singer;great raconteur-seems a thoroughly nice all round Essex girl.Mike Moran on piano was great too.Agree-later time slot would be better-likely to get a livelier audience.
    “Car Crash Theatre”-YOU ARE SO WRONG!

  8. I saw this show a couple of days ago, loved it.

    Denise is great, especially when she sings the Dusty Springfield
    song dedicated to her lovely husband musical star Lee Mead.

    Well Done Denise


  9. nicky margrain on August 29th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Loved Blondes and thought Denise was brilliant.

    She has a great singing voice, the Dusty Springfield
    song she dedicated to husband Lee Mead was really lovely.


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