As the title Charlie Russell Aims to Please suggests, the entire show is an amalgamation of various theatre techniques from musical to slapstick to the dramatic in Russell’s attempt to meet the demands that we – the audience – make on her in an attempt please and to make us happy with her, meeting the demands that we make. With such an open-ended promise, almost anything can happen.. and it does.
A laugh-out-loud and thoughtful comedy
It is incredibly entertaining to watch Russell stretch her acting abilities, going beyond what we might think possible, aided by a variety of props that add to the over the top and seemingly joyous atmosphere. She has an easy rapport with us, she knows how to work an audience and to be likeable, even going so far as playing Defying Gravity on the kazoo and attempting and absolutely nailing a Scottish accent, not an easy feat for an Englishwoman. Her performances are well thought through, clever, and a far cry from anything else on the Fringe. Russell is an incredibly versatile and talented actress. That much is clear even before the show ‘officially’ starts, interacting with us to make sure we feel safe and comfortable, trying to ingratiate herself with us from the beginning.And whilst she is conscious of the fact that you can’t please everyone, Russell sure as hell tries.
Becoming more visibly frazzled as the performance goes on, Russell shows us that there is more to her performance than initially meets the eye, revealing her true heart and motivation. She is incredibly brave for being so emotionally raw with us, and that honesty and vulnerability is what makes this show so great.
At least five or six shows rolled into one, Charlie Russell Aims to Please is a laugh-out-loud and thoughtful comedy, as Russell befriends us over the course of the show. It is hard not to like her; she is honest and genuine with us. Russell not only succeeds in pleasing us as an audience, but finding that which pleases herself, a beautiful ending to a rollercoaster of a show.