Sue Kelvin is no stranger to the West End stage of London having performed in Fidler on the Roof, Chicago and most recently Wicked as Madame Morrible. Now up at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival she is playing homage to the Divine Miss M, Better Midler.
This isn’t your typical tribute show. Sue Kelvin doesn’t try to look or sound like Bette (although there are many recognisable inflections). The show, called Bette Midler and Me is exactly that, a walk through Sue’s live in parallel to Bette’s. Whilst Bette was struggling to make it as a star on Broadway, Sue was struggling to make it as a star in London after a difficult upbringing near Manchester.
The gorgeous Alex Young provides backing vocals and musical support on several instruments. In fact it feels harsh to call them backing vocals as she is very much a part of the show and complements Sue’s voice perfectly. Without her, I’m not sure this show would have had the same effect. Sarah Travis was more than an Musical Director in this show, adding backing vocals and helping assist in comedy moments. Between the three ladies there were some incredible harmonies put into Bette’s classic songs such as The Rose, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Fat Stuff and of course Wind Beneath My Wings.
Highlights of this show are a wonderful, three minute slapstick run through of the film Beaches, using puppets as the lead characters (Avenue Q style) and some hilarious anecdotes about Bette’s friendship with Barry Manilow.
Bette was an inspiration for people who were different and if you want to be entertained, have a great night out and be inspired by Sue Kelvin, get yourself down to the Guilded Balloon.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Bette Midler and Me is playing at the Gilded Balloon until 31 August 2015. Click here for tickets.
The show will then play in London next month. Click here for more information.