Tuesday, 26 October 2021

REVIEW: Sam Carlyle: My Life and Other Jokes at the Bread and Roses Theatre

Sam Carlyle might just be your new best friend - that’s the feeling you leave the theatre with after an hour with her. She’s funny, relatable, and will have you bopping to your favourite noughties tunes from the word go. 

Tapping into the experiences shared by the majority of women who grew up to the soundtrack of Shakira, the Spice Girls, and Britney, Carlyle’s comedy covers everything from online dating to customer service, to your first cervical exam. 

The latter is a particularly funny moment, as pianist Thomas Duchan breaks his silence to take on the role of ‘nurse’ as Carlyle sings through the experience to Britney’s ‘I’m not a girl, not yet a woman’. 

However, sometimes the show’s leaning towards relatable experiences is what lets it down. Carlyle’s confidence and character shine through best when she is performing her hilarious covers, such as ‘Question: Tell me why you don’t have a boyfriend', and she certainly doesn’t lack comic instincts, but it feels at times like she could take it further. 

There’s huge potential to her themes and stories, but she would benefit from consolidating it into a clearer character and longer form jokes. This doesn’t take away from the overall effect of the show; it was an undeniably fun evening, that I left with a smile on my face and a (free!) Kazoo in my bag. Which I have to say is a pretty ideal end to any night. 

When Carlyle does do more actively written rather than anecdotal comedy she shows how effectively she can build on relatable experience to create great material. A quick bit where she uses song to present the modern dating lives of Disney princesses combines her strengths admirably. 

She also shows her potential to use comedy to touch on real issues most of us have experienced as women when she draws on experiences such as being called ‘intimidating’ on dates because she is funny and a woman. Again, it would be great to see this taken further. 

The more Carlyle grows into her own uniquely musical approach to comedy, the better she is going to get. As she leans further into her strengths and falls back less on her less personalised material, I have no doubt she’ll be a great success. 

Review by Jasmine Silk

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Unreserved | Price of Ticket: £8

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