Keith Carter's The Fall Of The House Of Frazer
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Award winning comedian Keith Carter presents a tale of revenge, retribution and retail therapy. Liverpool Comedian of the Year 2004 and 2005. Best Breakthrough in Comedy at the North West Comedy Awards 2005.
OK, so it's three routines stitched together and adjusted to sound Scottish and attract Fringe audiences. The House of Frazer is closing down, and in its last hours we meet a queueing customer, the security chief and the boss, all played by Keith Carter.
The queuer is sad loser Romeo Sole (R. Sole say it out loud), a well-rounded and gently handled Northern character who could easily have been in TV's greatest unsung sitcom, Coronation Street, if he were slightly less warped. The acting is impeccable: so fast, fluent and naturalistic that it seems as if it isn't scripted (though it is). On the downside, the delivery may be sometimes too fast and fluent, making the audience miss or only partially appreciate some of the details.
After the soft, sad loser comes the hard-edged store security chief with a violent hatred of his new boss and an accent oddly reminiscent of Christopher Walken. Again, there are plenty of deft touches, though a reference to 'dishcloths celebrating the hanging of Lord Haw Haw' totally distracted me from what came next. How did Lord Haw Haw get into this? The reference seemed to have stumbled in from some other sketch.
Finally, the less successfully realised boss, Mr Frazer, who has so many voices in his head we end up listening to about two-thirds of his segment on pre-recorded tapes, and one-third through live performance.
What can I say? It's a showreel for Keith Carter and I hope he gets work out of it. It was certainly professional, workmanlike and only spoiled by the distraction of three 'laugh leaders' at the back, confusing the natural rhythm like a bad laughter track.