Carrie Quinlan

Carrie Quinlan

Carrie Quinlan: Fear of a Beige Planet

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

The comic most associated with railing against the beige world is Billy Connolly; a man you know once fully embraced the idea of a colourful life as a die-hard renegade., even if some of the excess came at a huge personal cost. We knew blandness was, at least at the peak of his powers, anathema to him.

But it's harder to believe the same message when the pronouncements are coming from a nice middle-class girl from Surrey who writes wry jokes for Radio 4 and is addicted to lifestyle makeover shows. Feel the excitement.

Carrie Quinlan's concerns are Katie Melua and Celebrity Mastermind, pedantic use of the English language and the presenters of How Clean Is Your House? The theme of her debut Edinburgh show might be anti-beige, but she's as middle-of-the-road as they come.

She might talk the talk, but she doesn't have the passion to make us want to go out and live different or exciting lives, it's just a stance she seems to have adopted because it's vaguely fashionable and will provide a thread on which to hang her observational routines.

Her writing is what stands out, it's crisp and flows eloquently from one topic to the next. It's not hilarious, but consistently moderately funny. In fact, it seems more like a newspaper opinion piece than stand-up.

That, I think, is the nub of the problem. The script has been created entirely in isolation. While Quinn is competent at delivering her own lines, she's not especially a comedian. The material hasn't been subjected to the rigours of being performed live at comedy clubs, where a pithy turn of phrase or well-argued point mean little ­ but attitude and good solid gags are everything.

Edinburgh audiences are more tolerant than the circuit, so she gets away with it, and some of the set pieces, most notably a deconstruction of fairytales, do raise a smile.

But as a whole Fear Of A Beige Planet is hardly rousing stuff, with a humour that's dry and sardonic rather hilarious. I hate to say the obvious, but this is a pretty beige hour in itself.

Steve Bennett

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Published: 1 Jan 2006


Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Carrie Quinlan's Immaterial


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