Venue: The Hawth, Crawley
Date of show: 4th February 2006
Rebecca Carrington is a comedian of a different breed. Not your standard run-of-the-mill stand-up who waxes relentlessly about life's little foibles and inconsistencies into a microphone. For starters, she enters the stand-up subcategory of 'comedian with an instrument' but again this isn't an act that just parodies popular tunes on a guitar or sings a funny song. Carrington comes to the stage with an education that extends further than just the school of life or busking in Covent Garden for she is a classically trained cellist. This should not come as much of a surprise as her show is entitled Me And My Cello.
Having studied at The Royal Northern College of Music then completing her Masters of Music at Rice University in Houston, USA she went on to perform with orchestras such as the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia and the BBC Symphony. It was while she was in the US that Carrington first tried her hand at the comedy circuit and performed her cabaret style act at various clubs then won the Mastercard Talent Search and got showcased on NBC and CBS. Her current show was a sell-out at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe.
Again I feel the need to set Carrington aside from her contemporaries because many acts who wield guitars tend to use them as a means to extend their set; quite often those acts that lack the oral stamina or verve and rely on their instrument to save them. Carrington's cello is more than just a comedy prop but an integral part of her act. They are, for all accounts, a double act with 'Joe' (yes, it has a name) playing the silent straight man.
Me And My Cello is an account of their life together and how the got where they are today from the classics to comedy. She mixes all veins of comedy throughout the act: innuendo, observation, self-referential, impressionism, parody and so forth displaying a natural versatility in the comedic art that keeps the material fresh and, at most points, unpredictable. Then, appropriately placed in each chapter is an exceptional interlude of varying musical styles.
As Carrington accounts their journey from country to country trying to find their place in the musical World so does Joe. They depict their unsatisfying contribution to standard orchestras and small groups which forces their search and then is able to manipulate Joe's abilities to fit with native instruments (even the bagpipes at one point) and musical styles. Amongst them are French jazz, Bulgarian folk, Flamenco, Blues and more as they travel across Europe, Asia, India and America. With each stop she delivers a humorous dialogue and cultural rendition before the 'proper' celebration of that nation's musical heritage with Joe and her astonishing vocal talents.
Carrington is an all-round class act who manages to perfectly mix highbrow and popular culture into an engaging and funny show. She truly deserves the accolade of, 'Victor Borge of the 21st Century.'
Visit http://www.rebeccacarrington.co.uk/ for her current tour dates.