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Cabaret Whore - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Marissa Burgess

It’s always heartening to see such a packed Free Fringe show; word is clearly getting around about Sarah Louise Young’s gutsy performance as three ‘cabaret whores’.

The first is the most literal interpretation of ‘whore’– trailer-trash singer and sometime prostitute Sammy Mavis Jnr. Then there’s Loretta, the librarian hungry for reality TV fame on and La Poule Plombée, a French cabaret singer upstaged by Edith Piaf, disappointed at her lot and wielding a knife to represent her pain – although it’s at risk of becoming more than metaphor and causing her real damage.

Young certainly has a fine voice which she uses well to realise all three creations and their differing styles. But the first two characters are two-dimensional, leaning on stereotypes seen before on the circuit. Sammy Mavis owes a lot to Tina C, both are loose trailer park gals, while the stuffy, slightly unhinged Loretta is a character type that has been realised to greater effect by the likes of Jo Neary and Pippa Evans.

A good test of musical comedy is whether the lyrics would stand up without the tune and here, many of the gags are pretty lightweight. Much of Sammy Mavis’s set features her liking for cock and lists all the men she’s ever slept with; though you may well learn some inventive new terms for the sexual act.

La Poule Plombée however is the most original and interesting of the three characters. She’s a carefully crafted fruitcake, at war with the world and in particular the English language. Here the lyrical gags are more inventive with a song lamenting the lack of poetry in English words and a rant wishing the mildest of inconveniences on her enemy. Young could really run with this one.

Review date: 30 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess

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