A Cup of Tea With Lady C

I have to start this review with an admission; I had never heard of Lady Colin Campbell and I’ve never watched I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. However, after some intense research (Wikipedia) and a couple of YouTube binges that made me glad I’d managed to miss out on the phenomenon of people I don’t recognise eating things that they don’t recognise, I was up to speed for this show.

It’s not well directed, Lady C is not a natural public speaker and the PowerPoint presentation that accompanies her stories feels a little naff

For forty-five minutes, we listen to an upper class socialite whose fame seems entirely based on tell-all books about royals and a stint on a TV show that she immediately declares to be vulgar. She spends some time settling scores by putting down some of the other contestants before moving on to her heavily-abridged life story. It’s well documented that she was misgendered at birth due to an, at the time, unalterable genital defect and struggled greatly with being forced to live as a boy. Medical advances later allowed her to be legally recognised as female and she had a very brief and unhappy marriage to Lord Colin Ivar Campbell, which ended in divorce after just 14 months in 1975. She kept the name though; blaming the tabloids for not calling her anything else.

It’s a very strange show. Lady C seems to want us to understand her point of view on the world but it’s impossible to relate to her tales of being stopped in the street by men dazzled by her beauty, the way she became bored with a life of leisure and how her family couldn’t afford a seagoing yacht that accommodates 20 guests – although, luckily some of her cousins did manage to make do with private jets.

The real question about this show is ‘Is it cabaret?’ A Cup of Tea With Lady C is listed in the Cabaret and Variety section of the Fringe guide but I have to admit that, even under the very broad definition of ‘Cabaret’, this show doesn’t count. At best, it’s Spoken Word but more accurately, it’s a very one-sided chat with a lady who has an axe to grind. It’s not well directed, Lady C is not a natural public speaker and the PowerPoint presentation that accompanies her stories feels a little naff.

If you’re a fan of Lady C from her recent TV appearances, then this is a lovely opportunity to get to hear those round vowels in person; otherwise I’d advise giving this soirée a miss. I didn’t even get a cup of tea.

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

'I'm sorry, but I'm not prepared to jeopardise my life for the entertainment industry... Get me out of here!' And come to Edinburgh! Lady Colin Campbell – royal author, social star, survivor – regales us with tales of her extraordinary life, from the highest of high society to the depths of the jungle. You'll never hear Lady C saying 'I'm a celebrity' – that would be vulgar. But with five tiaras and having turned down one of the richest men on earth, she's one of a kind. And her one-woman show is unmissable.

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