Rob Carter: Murder (and other hobbies)

Much of Rob Carter’s chat centres on being awkward and posh. ‘I’m a bit of a bad-arse beneath the cashmere’, he said, speaking of the difficulties of growing up on the estate – his country estate – and running away from his parents’ house as a child to set up in the new annexe. The characterisation is very bland, so much so that it can be hard to laugh with him.

The stand-up is punctuated by frequent songs. The first one begins with Carter’s love of murdering his childhood friends as a rainy-day pastime. This was funny; the gentleness of the music and Carter’s mild-mannered tones set an unexpected backdrop for casual murder. After this, though, the songs began to feel more and more tired. The lyrics were funny, but the persona – an awkward young middle-class man attempting to be smooth with ill-fitting prose lyrics, bad metaphors, and underwhelming attempts at romance – has been done before, most notably by New Zealand duo Flight of the Conchords.

The audience interactions are a bit awkward and not in the same amusing way as the awkward lyrics. Carter never really gets us on side – he’s a bit too good at the spoilt-posh-boy act – and when he (very mildly) put down a member of the audience, he immediately apologised with a ‘no, not really, I’m just joking’.

The show ends with Carter prancing around in a tight cat costume, singing the lyrics ‘I’m pretending to be a cat, I’m just pretending/ I’m not actually a cat’ to a tune from Cats. (‘This is what it’s like if you follow your dreams!’ he cries, in yet another reference to his own life). This move falls a bit flat – he’s asking us to feel sorry for him after an hour of jokes revolving around sitting in his parents’ flat in London doing nothing much. I want to like him, but his style just doesn’t quite allow for it – rather, he comes across as a bit self-indulgent.

Basically, Carter’s material isn’t bad, and his song lyrics are in places funny. However, his stage presence leaves something to be desired and the awkward-posh-man trope just doesn’t feel fresh. It all feels a little two dimensional: maybe he just needs to be a little bit nastier.

Reviews by Charlotte Goodman

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Performances

The Blurb

As seen in Fresh Meat and Peep Show. Winner of the 2012 Musical Comedy Awards. Immaculately clumsy, flirtatiously twisted, musically inspired comedy. With reflections on murder and some of Rob's other childhood hobbies.

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