Aspects of Joy – Free

Joy Carter’s stand-up centres around a cute theme that works well for its midday slot. As the title suggests, Carter explores both her own autobiography and the emotion of joy. Apparently adults laugh on average fifteen times a day, as opposed to children’s two-hundred times. And Carter’s aim is to bring adults up to speed with the kids. Does she succeed? Her confident audience interaction hints at entertaining potential. But while Carter may achieve a few titters to add to the laugh count, unfortunately much of her material is flat and under-developed.

Carter has an engaging on-stage persona

The level of chat is like going for a cup of tea with your bubbly auntie; warm but quite banal. Carter takes us through her awkward upbringing in Scunthorpe, bringing out large photos of her younger selves from plastic carrier bags. None of her songs are original, and she changes so little of those she uses, it’s hardly worth singing them. Her rendition of When Will I See You Again matches the original but for the sarcy ‘never’ inserted after each question.

The selection of material in Carter’s comic cabaret feels randomly put together, nothing more so than her flute-playing. She’s a competent flautist, but making the flute funny would be a challenge to anyone, and unfortunately Carter fails to achieve this high target. Her attempts involve playing right up in the face of an audience member while gazing at him creepily, and fluting while hula-hooping. It’s like a children’s talent competition without irony. A particularly strange moment is when Carter slowly and methodically peels a banana, before feeding a bite to the audience-member she has just fluted at. One snippet I felt was more inspired is Carter’s take on Black Swan in which she dances using crutches to achieve the ballerina’s extreme tip-toe.

Carter has an engaging on-stage persona and works through her limp material with some style. But more thought is needed to give this show a coherent structure.

Reviews by Kate Wilkinson

theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Bench

★★
Bedlam Theatre

Be Better

★★★★
Greenside @ Infirmary Street

A Little Man's Holiday

★★★★★
Black Medicine

SherwoodJam

★★
Hispaniola

Aspects of Joy – Free

★★
Pleasance Dome

Lazy Susan: Double Act

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Joy was adopted in Nigeria, grew up in Scunthorpe and is an extreme musical comedian on the flute and piano. She explores the use of joy to overcome life’s stuff - from bullying to the universal question, ‘Can a cat surreptitiously be racist?’ This debut show includes brand new comedy ballet Black Swan, a ghetto version that fuses Natalie Portman with the Black Panthers. ‘Spontaneous, eccentric and a true individual’ (BBC Home Counties). Be transported into a mad musical comedy world as Joy switches seamlessly between stand up, music and dance. ‘So Brilliant’ (Jo Brand).