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The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio (Edinburgh Fringe): Review

dick and delores delrubio Dick and Del in the bungalow. Alan Palmer (left) and Andrew Orbison (right). Photograph: Courtesy of The Most Innocently Inappropriate Couple That New Was.

A sweet lovesong to old school cabaret and Vaudeville, The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio is a glamorous romp to cherish.


After 20 years of being married and performing together, Dick and Delores DelRubio welcome you to their final ever show before they retire and divorce!

Writing

It’s sometimes difficult to know where to draw the line between defining something as drag or character performance. The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio is one of those examples where, whilst both creators Alan Palmer and Andrew Orbison are both dressed up as larger than life personas who whip rapport and interaction with an audience, the show is much more about telling a story through these characters rather than campy mayhem. Dick and Delores DelRubio are an on and off stage couple who have been touring the cabaret and Vaudeville circuit for some time, and you join them for what is supposed to be their final show.

Palmer and Orbison’s characters are lovingly written with just the right hint of sass and satire that makes them very easy to adore and be on board with. They’re funny, and sometimes exotically ridiculous, but are always personable and piffy. There has been a lot of thought into their exuberant back-stories, but there’s never so much detail that they’re too complex a couple. The little snippets of the public and private lives of Dick and Delores DelRubio are enough to keep you interested, and are funny enough to keep you laughing and smiling throughout. The result is that, whether you think this is more character performance than drag, The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio is a clever, sweet, and fun show that is full of laughs and lightness. The comedy might not be filthy, outrageous or over-zany (though certainly not entirely wholesome), but even though The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio might not have many outlandish shocks or scandals, it’s still gratifyingly entertaining none the less.

Songs

Palmer and Oribson’s songs are smart and witty, and also cleverly explore the characters that are Dick and Delores DelRubio. They all feel very much part of their story rather than numbers that are just plonked on top of the show. What’s more, several of the songs written for The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio are actually quite catchy, as well as equally as good songs from other cabaret composers such as Fred Fisher, Joesph McCarthy, and Goldrich & Heisler, which are incorporated seamlessly and organically. They all propel the fun, prick out cheeky little quips and witticisms that make them a joy to listen to.

Direction & Production

There might not be much production to The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio, but it’s enough to still make it a wonderful little show. Everything from the extravagant outfit of Delores, to the baffling costume of Dick, and to the chintzy glamour of their little set-up, is a knowing and affectionately ribbing of the kind of traditional cabaret shows you’re more likely to find in the hotel lobby of some small town resort rather than the big clubs of glitzier climes. It sets the scene up nicely, beckoning you into the coddle of Dick and Delores DelRubio’s world.

As for the direction, The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio ticks along quite nicely and doesn’t drag. Furthermore, whilst apart from some direct audience interaction, the show is actually quite passive. But thankfully, rather than being stale, The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio really bounces along on its charms, and there isn’t anything bad about it at all. It’s a nice laid back and cheerful experience that you can’t complain about. The only issue is that The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio really does need a good crowd for it to really shine, as it’s one that intrinsically feeds off the energy of the audience. In saying that, even if there are a mere six people in the audience (like when I went to review the show) it still has enough pizzazz and gumption to avoid being awkward of uncomfortable, but you do feel you’d have gotten a better performance if there were a few more bodies in the theatre

Performances

Orbison and Palmer have a great onstage rapport with each other, even though the relationship of their characters is intrinsically a little fractious. But it’s always a sweet and sincere back and forth that Palmer and Orbison revel in, making the charisma they exude very endearing. But it’s both character’s little ticks in their performances that shows that Dick and Delores DelRubio are very well thought out and developed personas. Orbison as Dick has some fantastically odd twitches and intonations in his speech, and Palmer as Delores has a wonderful sense of mild long-suffering behind her glamour-puss veneer, and feels like a fully-fledged cabaret star rather than a drag character.

Verdict

The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio is a fond and feisty little homage to old school cabaret and its people, full of camp musical mischief.

The Final, Final Farewell Tour of Dick and Delores DelRubio plays at theSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall (venue 53), Edinburgh, EH8 9DW, until 27 August. Tickets are £10 (concessions available). To book, visit tickets.edfringe.com.