Carol Robson is a wonderwoman. As a Yorkshire-bred sixty-something who’s lived most of her life as a man and underwent gender reassignment surgery that nearly killed her, it’s unsurprising that she believes in previous lives and guardian angels. Her new show,
The putty-like flexibility of spoken word allows [Robson] to navigate this ever-changing universe with lyrical élan.
Robson is at home on the stage, unfazed by the modest audience size (not unusual for a free 1pm show). She launches straight into a set which moves fluidly between spoken word and candid monologue. Though occasionally Robson’s material (her poetry in particular) is touched by cliché, its honesty is refreshing and the sense in which she is only just beginning to find a vocabulary for her experience deeply touching.
Indeed, the show seems to be a form of talking therapy for Robson, whose coming out has given her a newfound lease of life and a hell of a lot to talk about. She confidently sets boundaries about what she will and won’t discuss. Following Laverne Cox’s lead, genitalia specifics are a no-go, though Robson talks at length about choosing a new sex toy for her new vagina (“I’d always wanted a white rabbit! This was the closest I came to getting one”).
What’s compelling about Finding Me is that Robson seems to make up these rules as she goes, reframing the parameters of her existence. Finding Me does not present Robson’s self-discovery as a fait accompli, but as something ongoing, constantly being renegotiated. The putty-like flexibility of spoken word allows her to navigate this ever-changing universe with lyrical élan.