Celebration of Kate Bush heads to Chichester

The “chaotic cabaret cult” An Evening Without Kate Bush celebrates the loving fandom which has always surrounded a star who has somehow managed to keep her mystery.

An Evening Without Kate Bush Photo by Steve Ullathorne
An Evening Without Kate Bush Photo by Steve Ullathorne

Sarah-Louise Young (Cabaret Whore, The Showstoppers, La Soiree) has teamed up with theatre maker Russell Lucas to explore the music and mythology of one of the most influential voices in British music. You can howl with the The Hounds Of Love and dance on the moors with Wuthering Heights. As Sarah-Louise says, Kate’s not there, but you are.

The show is in Chichester’s Minerva Theatre from December 1-3 – a celebration of an artist who has always surprised and confounded her critics.

“I had made a show with Russell about Julie Andrews years before and we had a lot of fun with that and so we started to explore the idea of who the untouchable artists are. Tribute bands are great fun but if the original artists still exist then you don’t really need to see them. Nobody should impersonate Julie Andrews because her voice is so unique but what you can do is tell a story about the fandom and the great love that people have for her and so we started thinking about Kate Bush in a similar way. We had both been big fans of Kate Bush for years but the fact is she didn’t perform live for more than 30 years.

“Obviously she is very, very different to Julie Andrews because she makes her own music whereas Julie Andrews is a conduit for other people’s music but what we realised is that there is this incredible band of Kate Bush fans that really, really adore her work and accept that she is this very, very private person who makes work and then goes to a forest clearing and leaves it for everyone as her gift and then disappears again. That’s the fandom and we wanted to look at that fandom, this incredible gathering of people that she inspires.

“We loved her music and we were going to do this show years earlier but she came back and did (her 2014 concert residency) Before the Dawn (her first shows since 1979’s The Tour of Life). We just decided that it would seem a bit cynical to do the show then and obviously that gave us more time to absorb the material.

“There is a great biography of her that I have read six times that goes into so much detail about her recording process. It is not about her life. It is about her work and that is what we have got. She doesn’t like giving interviews. She doesn’t tour extensively. We are left with her art and that’s what our show is about, the fans sharing the art. We do the songs that you would expect but we also do some unexpected songs performed in a way that you might not necessarily expect them to be performed. I don’t try to sound like her though some people say that I do.

“I would love it if she came along. She would have to come in very heavy disguise! She has been known to come along to the Kate Bush fan convention. With both the Julie show and this one we very much wanted to make work that if she came along to see it she would love it. She is so iconic. She is so unique.

“I believe she is aware of the show. We reached out to her at the start and I know friends of hers have seen it. I hope she is aware. There are a lot of other people doing Kate Bush and I know she is not so very busy on social media. It seems that she is deeply unstarry and I suspect that as long as it is affectionate and not unkind, then she would be happy.”