Music of Costello steals this brave, if disappointing, show
They Call Her Natasha, McHugh's Basement
I was under the impression that Elvis Costello was a man. In fact, I was sure of it. But last night I saw him reincarnated as a woman — one Elsie Costello.
Elsie is the alter-ego of singer/songwriter Lou Dalgleish. They Call Her Natasha is Elsie’s story, as written by Dalgleish and husband Michael Weston King, intertwined with the songs of the aforementioned male Costello.
Fans of the former Declan McManus will recognise inspiration for the show comes from the lyric “they call her Natasha but she looks like Elsie”, from Costello’s classic (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea.
The bespectacled one’s songs are interspersed with a rather forced but intelligent narrative provided by Weston King, which gives the show a theatrical feel.
Add to this Dalgleish’s unique take on songs such as Accidents Will Happen, Peace Love & Understanding and Alison and it certainly makes you feel that you are watching a particularly idiosyncratic take on the Costello back catalogue.
While the narrative of the show was at times interesting and affecting, as the show went on I found myself just wanting to hear the songs. That is a compliment to the superb Dalgleish and her backing musicians, particularly Gladstone Wilson. Musically, this show was a joy, as a performance piece it was brave yet disappointing.