Lady Carol, doyenne of cabaret and comedy ukulele songs for over ten years has reinvented herself and now she’s just Carol Cates. This hour of entertaining banter, charmingly funny songs and crippling self-doubt is a great introduction to the new and hopefully improved Cates.
You get a sense that she’d be genuinely delighted if we just had a good time.
Using pre-recorded niggling, internal voices that challenge her confidence and kick her when she’s down, Cates has created a one person show that deals with the insecurities suffered by the kind of person who chooses to attempt to entertain an audience for an hour at the Edinburgh Fringe. We get multiple different restarts of the show, self-searching questions of where she should place herself in the world of cabaret and call backs to her well-known reputation as an established cabaret chanteuse.
Where Cates show excels is in the performance of her super smart songs; she’s got a supreme talent as a lyricist and a fantastic voice to match. Her songs range from a brilliant pre-recorded pre-show number that talks the audience through arrival and seat etiquette to an urban rap that deals with the familiar insecurities of anyone who suffers from anxiety. There’s even another pre-recorded number to escort us out of the space.
Cates is a wonderful character with which to spend an hour and the audience warm to her casual self-deprecation immediately. She’s shed the iconic hooded fishtail dress for something a bit darker, sparkly and funkier and, like Camille without the torch songs (or at least torch songs like none you’ve ever heard before), she entrances and entertains in equal measure with her engaging voice and entertaining lyrics. The asides and stories are well paced and, although she comes across as clearly wanting us to like her, you get a sense that she’d be genuinely delighted if we just had a good time.