Dillie Keane has spent the past three decades being filthy, witty and fabulous... and has no intention of changing any time soon.

As the founder of comedy cabaret trio Fascinating Aida she’s travelled the world from Scunthorpe to Sydney, South Africa, San Francisco and Singapore.

But as a woman in the entertainment business her award-winning career has not been without its costs.

“You do have to make sacrifices,” she says.

“I never gave myself time to have a family and when I got around to it, I had two miscarriages.”

But with her “glass half full” attitude she even manages to put a positive spin on that.

“I’d have been a hopeless mother,” she says “and now I have a surrogate family so I have the best of all worlds - and no stretch marks!”

Born in Portsmouth home is now Stratton Audley, near Bicester.

“I first came here 14 years ago because I met a wonderful Irishman [John O’Neill] who lives and farms in north Oxfordshire. I’m incredibly happy with him and I love the village.”

Dillie, 61, who has also had a prominent solo career as an actress, singer, songwriter and comedienne, always knew she wanted to be an entertainer.

“I vaguely considered being a gardener but really there was only one thing I ever wanted to and that was to go on stage,” she says.

“I’m so glad I was able to make a career doing what I love.

“I started out by pestering the local theatre [The Kings Theatre, Portsmouth] for any kind of a job at all when I was 14. I was an usherette, I worked in box office, I worked behind the bar, and I even became an assistant stage manager for a few glorious weeks during the panto season.

“I finally went to drama school (LAMDA) after flunking out of university where I’d spent all my time in the dramatic society, and it was the best thing I ever did.”

She’s found being a woman in showbusiness has its good and bad points.

“Oh, I think things are still easier for men, just as they always have been.

“Having said that, I think that as women, we get away with material that would sound much harder if it were delivered by blokes.”

Fascinating Aida celebrate 30 years of their unique brand of entertainment touring with their new show Charm Offensive.

Freshly invigorated by more than 10 million YouTube hits for their song Cheap Flights Dillie, along with Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman will present several numbers, along with old favourites including their infamous anthem to budget travel.



The group has played in hundreds of theatres all over the world, they’ve made numerous television appearances and radio recordings, released seven CDs, two videos, an autobiography and a songbook, and have also been nominated for awards including the Perrier (once), Olivier (three times) and New York Drama desk (three times).

Earlier this year they won Best Musical Act in the London Cabaret Awards.

“Life on tour seems very strange to outsiders, who say, ‘Oh, poor you!’ when I tell them I can’t come to their party because I’m playing Scunthorpe that night.

“What they don’t get is that I’m just delighted to be in Scunthorpe,” says Dillie.

“Yes, life on tour can be exhausting, and when things go wrong at home – like having the ceiling fall in as has just happened in my spare room – it is very difficult to try and sort it from long distance.

“But we have wonderful fun, and people come to see us, roar with laughter all evening, and then they cheer us at the end of the show.

“There aren’t many jobs like that.”

But it can be hard on the partner left at home.

“My other half gets a bit blue when the tours start, and puts a photo of me on the fridge so he doesn’t forget what I look like,” says Dillie.

Despite that, you know that she wouldn’t change her career for the world.

Does she have any words of wisdom for other women thinking of going into showbusiness.

“I’m chary of giving advice because all the advice I was ever given was useless, so if someone younger asks me for any kind of guidance, I always say, ‘Follow your instincts and don't listen to advice.’ “Having said that, I usually tell them to keep their clothes on.”

For herself, she plans to continue to grow old disgracefully with Fascinating Aida.

“We have a very solid threesome right now which is wonderful.

“We’re deep deep friends, and love working together, so we hope to go on trucking till the wheels fall off.”

Fascinating Aida Charm Offensive is at the Oxford New Theatre on Friday, December 6 For tickets visit atgtickets.com/ oxford or call 0844 871 3020.