Carol Cates: Lady Carol (3 stars)

Carol Cates: Lady Carol

Laid back and ironically witty cabaret

Once upon a time, Carol Cates was billed as Lady Carol and travelled the world offering a gothic, melodramatic version of the cabaret diva. Her latest show reflects on her past through a more relaxed persona, foregrounding her wry humour and battles with performance anxiety.

This allows Cates to reveal her vocal range through a series of witty numbers that ponder the whereabouts of former action hero Brendan Fraser, express her own desires and highlight the battle between the outgoing performer and the insecure person beneath the mask. Her flirtation with hip hop has her street-wise rapper undermined by a fear of having left the cooker on at home.

Stepping back from the diva persona – and structuring the show around her fear of beginnings and making a bad impression – provides Cates with plenty of space for the subtle and thoughtful numbers, but the deliberate avoidance of melodrama leaves the show feeling like a gentle rather than triumphant hour. Yet Cates' subversion of predictable cabaret strategies and sense of deprecating fun suggest that she is starting to build her own distinctive approach to the solo cabaret show.

Voodoo Rooms, until 27 Aug (not 21), 6.30pm, £10.

Carol Cates: Lady Carol

  • 3 stars

Carol Cates She's performed as Lady Carol around the world for over a decade, from America, Canada, all over Europe and Australia; in the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House; on boats, barges, and bridges; caves, castles and kitchens; pubs, clubs, and all the exciting social hubs. But things change, shoes wear…

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