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Caroline Mabey's Go Go Go Coffee Show - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

This is neither the time or the place for stand-up: 1.30pm in the well-lit ‘meeting room’ above a pub.

But Caroline Mabey has incorporated the situation into her charmingly bonkers debut show; theming it around the idea of waking up – and the coffee she needs to get going. As an audience, we all get a free thimbleful; as the comedian surfacing before Deal Or No Deal, she needs substantially more.

She appears bewildered by the early hour, bumbling with her distracted stare through everything she wants to get through, such as dividing the audience into early birds or night owls; describing her relationship with Kip, the animated coffee pot, or discussing her caffeine dependency. She’s still in a half-awake state, and has to keep restarting the show as she forgets where she was, and her alarm clock keeps telling her it’s just turned 1.30pm. No surprise, give that it’s made of cardboard.

Mabey is slyly playful with the affectionate awkwardness she creates through this slightly scruffy hotch-potch of surreal stand-up, unthreatening audience participation, quirky music and sweet animation. The whole hour is enjoyably amateur in feel, but powered by some strong writing that suggests Mabey isn’t half as dippy as she makes out.

There are some fabulous off-the-wall lines here – as well as some truly appalling puns, normally owl-based – and she orchestrates a succession of strange scenes after allocating every audience member some job vital to the show’s good progress: dog-wrangler, harbourmaster, nurse.

Every weird scenario is played out in good spirit from the delightfully eccentric Mabey and punters alike; and the good cheer spreads around the room. It might not seem it at the time, but daft moments from this show will endure in the memory long after you’ve forgotten every word from the big-name stand-ups.

This is quirky lo-fi comedy with balls; where reliable jokes underpin the unbalanced, scatterbrain whimsy. Yes, it’s flawed, but it’s unlikely you’ll find a show that mixes the unhinged and the fun in quite the same way, sending you out into the day with a satisfied smile on your face.

Review date: 26 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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