Carol Cates: Lady Carol

If ever there was a show of two halves, this was it. Carol begins by telling us she's bad at starts, and she’s right. In the first half hour there is no flow and the themes she brings to us are too shallow for the length of time she allots to them. After each song she reboots and 'starts' again to highlight her character’s lack of self esteem. But the neurosis is the same and the songs are frenetic and deafening. She undoubtedly has a good voice but she deliberately sabotages her talent; I assume this is to bludgeon us into understanding that this is funny. It’s a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Lady Carol is definitely a clever writer, with some great observations, but needs to trust in herself and her audience.

A neat idea is her anxious rapper song. To prove she is agitated, Carol interrupts herself, citing concern over whether she has left the front door unlocked. She leaves the stage, ostensibly to return home, demonstrating the contrast between her confident rapper persona and her real agitated self; it’s clever and we giggle. She then contrives to leave the stage again and again and again. The concept is great but the execution lacks confidence.

It is only when she starts to talk/sing to her younger self that we start to believe in her. The advice to the teenage Lady Carol to 'leave your eyebrows alone' takes us by surprise and feels true. It’s clever and very funny, as is the song that examines the relationship between nature and nurture in personal development. Here, she is decisive and performs with conviction, close to the knuckle at times, and with the volume turned down the humorous lyrics are allowed room to breathe.

These two ditties are followed by the story of a doomed romance and an ode to being single which maintain the assured calm comedy. Not only are the individual pieces in the second half good on their own, they are also intertwined with neat one liners that bring them together.

Lady Carol is definitely a clever writer, with some great observations, but needs to trust in herself and her audience.

Reviews by Steve Bravery

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The Blurb

A new hour from the multi-talented, award-winning Carol Cates. She has performed as Lady Carol all over the world for over a decade, in America, Canada, all over Europe and Australia; in the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House; on boats, barges, and bridges, caves, castles and kitchens, pubs, clubs and all the exciting social hubs. But, things change, shoes wear out, jumpers unravel and stage names no longer fit. "Utterly intoxicating" **** (TimeOut) "One of the biggest voices you'll ever hear” ***** (BBC) ***** (The Scotsman) ***** (Broadway Baby)