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Caroline Mabey's One Minute Silence

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Phill Gillespie

Caroline Mabey wants to use her show to teach us how to sit in silence. Is she mad? Maybe...

She waits at the door to greet her audience in a friendly way, helpfully trying to guide us towards the front seats. This pleasant persona is a relaxing comfort, in contrast to her in-show character, who is overtly firm and mildly offensive, in a slightly sardonic and surreal way. The tone is established as she picks on a ‘maggot’ to abuse from the very beginning.

As we learn how to work as a team and the rules of the One Minute Silence, we are warned of the consequences of not following procedure and we are hit by a great gag, certainly her strongest one. With the slightly reluctant help of some of the audience, we are then introduced to Dr. Hospital, whose instinctive response to hearing her name is surprisingly entertaining, and Enrique the off-duty police officer, plus three surprise celebrities.

Pushing through the training session, and despite the quietness of the room, Mabey manages to raise the intensity a bit and get most of the audience on-side, including the husband of a woman who left five minutes in. Being aware of potential distractions we move on to the serious risks involved in a One Minute Silence, including muscle fatigue and suicide.

Mabey relies heavily on her projector, most of her slides are intentionally simplistic, but then has smooth conversations with her animated characters, Mr Scrangles the scrambled egg and the Coffee Pot. Despite a brief technical failure, we discover in an ironic yet adoringly serious way, that Mabey also has less glamorous technology like faxes supporting her show.

Before the big finale, Mabey slightly breaks character to tell us of the other shows she wanted to do in Edinburgh instead, in a carefully crafted and well-judged prelude to her smart finish.

It feels like an original show, yet has hints of Will Adamsdale's award-winning Jackson’s Way and her favourite word ‘Amazing!’ is very reminiscent of Greg Davies as mind-reader Derren Chilblain. Despite these influences, Mabey has put together something entertaining and unique, and you'd be hard pushed to remain silent throughout it.

Review date: 20 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Phill Gillespie

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