You, the savvy citydwelling comedy snob (or if you prefer: comedy connoisseur) have likely become wary of character comedy, given what we have in that sector lately. Remember Katy Brand’s Big-Ass Show? Of course you do, and that’s why you’re right to be wary.
Cariad Lloyd, though, has managed to overcome that particular impediment to become the character comedic of choice among critics and Londonist’s staff lately, thanks to a generous handful of appearances on E4, Radio 4, BBC3, and the Edinburgh [festival? circuit? kerfuffle?]. In the first couple of minutes she’s on stage, Lloyd is throwing around cards to music in a parody of that Bob Dylan video and although it’s not ground-breaking or even particularly hilarious in its own right, she has enough energy to carry it.
The rest of the show canters on in much the same way, all breathless enthusiasm and routines that require Lloyd to move and dance around the stage that’s exhausting even to think about in the blisteringly hot Soho Theatre, which is just an inhumane venue for audiences, more so for the performers.
Much of Freewheelin‘s humour depends on how much you know about popular culture, and so an extended first bit that mashes Scandinavian detective series with the Moomins flew right over your correspondent’s head but the finale, skewering Zooey Deschanel and her show New Girl hit exactly the right kind of spot (ditto the part where an Asda worker flips between a health and safety seminar and a melodramatic film-noir monologue). The characters and the routines are fine; Lloyd’s talent, we suspect, derives mostly from her improv skills, which get the odd moment to shine but are otherwise spent in your common-or-garden audience participation bits.
Still, we enjoyed it. Although there’s nothing particularly earth-shattering in it, The Freewheelin’ Cariad Lloyd was a fun way to spend an evening, largely because Lloyd is just a hell of a lot of fun to watch. It was solidly “pretty good”.
The Freewheelin’ Cariad Lloyd is at the Soho Theatre from the 14-16 February, tickets £10-£12.50. More information is available on the Soho Theatre website, and do think about taking a bottle of water either for you or for Ms. Lloyd.