Carol Cates: Tell Tale

Carol Cates sits on a tall stool strumming away on her ukulele and chatting with the audience as they arrive. She is draped in a black hood and flowing dark fabric so that, framed by the arch of the performing space, she appears like a siren or a guardian of the netherworld but with witty banter and an indifferent charm. Cates even has a brief chat with another act in the front row which inspires me to check out his show too.

One of the best musical comedy solo acts in the business

As this is cabaret, Cates opens with the guilty pleasure pop hit, Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun performed as an anthemic torch song. She defines herself as a chanteuse and takes a moment to define what that is and gives us some very funny examples of the styles employed by self-proclaimed chanteuses. It’s a great way for her to open the show before moving on to her original material.

Cates is a supremely talented lyricist and she has crafted a selection of songs and stories that cover many subjects from dentistry to orgasms, taking in poo, dating, death, and her overly honest granny along the way. Her re-telling of the classic fable of The Little Red Hen is an inspired an hilarious aside.

Tell Tale is the perfect title for this delightful show. As both a tell-tale and in telling us her life stores, Cates continues to solidify her reputation as one of the best musical comedy solo acts in the business. Her songs are well-written, witty, and often poignant. With so much emphasis placed on girls with ukuleles being some sort of a fad in cabaret in a way that would never be questioned were it a bloke singing silly songs about poo, Carol Cates stands out as a must see act regardless of your preconceptions.

Reviews by Frodo Allan

PBH's Free Fringe @ CC Blooms

Edward Hilsum: Silver

PQA Venues @Riddle's Court

Westdal and Hayward Need Work

Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire

MARVELus: Improv the MARVEL-verse

Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows


Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

Bubble Show: Milkshake and the Winter Bubble

Just The Tonic at the Caves

Twonkey’s Ten Year Twitch


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

A limited run of a brand-new hour from multitalented, award-winning Carol Cates. Having performed as Lady Carol around the world for over a decade, from the Royal Albert Hall to the Sydney Opera House, from boats, barges, caves and castles, to kitchens, pubs, clubs and pavements. This quick-witted, powerhouse performer has seen it all and is in two minds about any of it. 'One of the biggest voices you'll ever hear' ***** (BBC Sussex). 'Reduced me to tears and fits of giggles simultaneously' ***** (ThreeWeeks). 'Pitch-perfect singing and hilarious' **** ( ***** (Scotsman). **** (Time Out).

Most Popular See More

Mamma Mia!

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Witness for the Prosecution

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets