Bette Midler and Me
I suppose if you are a fan of Bette Midler then this show is almost heaven-sent featuring her life story told to her greatest show-stopping numbers and tales of how her life has inspired that of the show’s creator Sue Kelvin. Personally I like and admire Bette Midler but there is no way I could ever describe myself as a fan and although I appreciate her talents and enjoyed parts of this show I must admit that much of it left me cold.
Its main flaw for me is also what I feel is Midler’s greatest flaw, in that it often feels as if it is trying too hard: too hard to be funny, too hard to be outrageous and too hard to impress.
Kelvin however is excellent in her role and she is more than ably supported by actress and singer Alex Young alongside musical director Sarah Travis who helps her negotiate her way through standards such as ‘New York, New York’,’ The Rose’ , ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ and of course, the mawkish standard which aims itself to bringing a tear to a glass eye ‘Wind Beneath my Wings’ which is preceded by a puppet show of the film it came from ‘Beaches’.
Never having seen the film in its entirety- a couple of attempts were made but I gave up pretty early on- I can’t really comment but from all accounts it is tear jerker of epic scale. The puppet show did make me want to cry slightly I must admit.
‘Bette Midler and Me’ is a fast paced show which never lets up but it seems to have fallen prey to what many others have in this year’s Fringe; it lasts about ten minutes too long. Some editing might have made it more palatable to me but I must say that the audience around me were in thrall to every utterance and song which came from the stage and they are all appeared to be aficionados of the Divine Miss M. So perhaps if you are like-minded in your opinions of her then this show will suit you, if however you are only mildly acquainted like me I doubt very much that this will convert you and help you to see the light!
Bette Midler and Me is on every night at 9.30pm until August 31st at the Gilded Balloon.

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