FRINGE REVIEW – Lady Carol Betwixt & Between

*****

Lady Carol is a living contradiction. When she walks on stage in a sleek dress with a bejeweled hood covering her blonde hair, she resembles a meek and mild fairytale princess rather than a first-class musical artiste.

When she sits upon her stool, picks up her ukulele and sings however, she is transformed. With a powerfully rich and surprisingly low voice which leaps over octaves like they’re little more than fairytale toadstools, Lady Carol’s singing style is immediately arresting — and utterly captivating.

It is perhaps best showcased by the dark slices of US folk and roots numbers she chooses to cover, where she somehow manages to be at once nothing and exactly like a female Nick Cave. Beyond the saloon doors however, she also lets her voice out to play with the likes of Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Dancing In The Dark and Space Oddity: here, her vocal delivery achieves a perfect balance between raw power and almost unsettling frailty.

Between songs, she lets her persona out to play too. Although it is obviously heightened for effect, the glimpse we get of ‘crazy Aunt Carol’ and her series of mid-life crises has a ring of endearing truth to it, and causes an already-receptive studio audience to warm to her even further.

But that voice. Although it has graced many stages and auditoriums of various sizes, Lady Carol Betwixt & Between gives an opportunity to witness it in an intimate setting, where its emotion and power can practically be reached out for and touched.

Lady Carol Betwixt & Between is at the Assembly Rooms at 18:15 until 25 August.

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