Get Keith Carter
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Keith Carter is coming up North to sort things out. The Fringe is a big festival but it's out of shape and with Carter it's a full time job - so it better behave itself. Explosive character comedy show directed by Henry Normal.
Keith Carter’s frame for the show is a celebration of 800 years of Liverpool, as explained by its cultural ambassador, the cheerful Scouse junky, Nige.
Like his Australian counterpart, Sir Les Patterson, Nige is cheerfully unaware of his own shortcomings, scratching and twitching, eyelids drooping like a tired bloodhound. He peppers his conversation with references to characters like Dogshit Barry, inventor of the sweetcorn anti-shark suit,
Nige’s head is full of internet ‘facts’ to be passed of as incontrovertible truth. Nige manages to be just on the engaging side of wildly irritating, the sort of bloke who will chat you into buying him a cup of tea and bacon sarnie on the street.
He has wonderful ideas, getting stoned on the memory of a half smoked spliff, unlocking the voices in his head – allowing the prerecorded nonsense to get him offstage for quick change to introduce the next character.
With modest costume changes and the odd wig or cap or pair of specs his transformations are established successfully by skilful performance. Keith Carter is not just a stand-up with a dressing-up box, he makes his characters live by his bearing, his gestures and by his voice: Colin Kilkenny, former Eighties star of the band Electric Moustache, all sinuous dance school moves and swishing hips; the truly horrible mullet-haired club comic Ronnie Binks, saddled with cheap catchphases and clichés, breaking under the strain of his own obsolescence; and Gerald Roberts, the driver of celebrities, sustained by barely suppressed rage and ramrod posture. This character could well have a show of his own at some point, when the time is ripe for a massive piss-take of the misery memoirs that now crowd the shelves in WH Smith.
The show is closed with Nige recounting the demise of his relationship with Joan Beadle, summarised in Beatles song titles, cheesy but fun. The hour flashed past, full of variety, some excellent gags and very accomplished performance.
Reviewed by: Julian Chambers