Caroline Mabey: Quetzals (2 stars)

This article is from 2017

Caroline Mabey: Quetzals

Light-hearted and elaborate show that needs some spit and polish applied

Caroline Mabey's fifth full-length Fringe show focuses on memory. She utilises a variety of methods, including anagrams, mnemonics and repetition, to remember audience names. And it works: I can still remember the guy from the second row Jerome (jam, eggs, runs, over, my, elbow). It builds to the point where she recites all 103 of the two-letter words acceptable in Scrabble: except she forgets a few.

Mabey jokes that a comedian currently playing the O2 was meant to write her new hour but he's a bit crap with deadlines and ultimately, Quetzals feels like the bare bones of a show; it's got a structure and an elaborate finish, featuring music and puppets, that demonstrates her skill for wordplay, but it feels like it hasn't been given the time it needs.

Mabey is captivating to watch and energetic on stage, twisting her body as she talks and there's plenty of spontaneity to her performance. It's at its best when she comments on herself or her sound technician rather than the audience, as some of her quips err on the side of tasteless. Quetzals is not a personal show – she references her mental health and family only in passing – but it's a light-hearted and whimsical hour.

Just the Tonic at The Caves, until 27 Aug (not 14), 7.40pm, £5 or Pay What You Want.

Caroline Mabey: Quetzals

  • 2 stars

Caroline Mabey / aboutacomb Caroline’s memory isn’t what it once was. Or so she assumes. Join her as she desperately tries to memorise the 103 allowable two-letter Scrabble words, in this joyful, addled meander through self-help, holistic dance and learning to love the disappointment of truly being yourself. Featured on…