“Squeezes the last dregs of pulpy laughter “
Editorial Rating: 4 Stars
As folk descend into the basement of the Ciao Roma Restaurant, Clare Plested wastes no time in working the audience, asking if they are up for being selected and happy with participation. Plested is an excellent warm-up and soon the entire audience are settled in with the expectation of a good show.
Plested does not disappoint: soon the first character of her creation is ripping into the audience like a barracuda through a shoal of baitfish. No one is safe: even after coming out of character she utters “Christ! I’ve just picked on the reviewer.” I was eviscerated with the rest but everybody, including me, was left laughing instead of floating belly-up.
The laughter is leavened with some pathos for the next persona: Kala Kale. It is clear that Plested is a fan of old television because there is little doubt that, physically at least, her model is Diana Moran, a.k.a The Green Goddess from breakfast TV of the 1980s. Character development for Kala is done perfectly and she culminates in a real belter of a gag. Less successful to my mind is Missy Marple. Perhaps her motivational drive is revealed a bit too soon, leaving the performance with less options. What openings there are left though, Plested really goes for them with good results.
Gaps between costume changes are filled in by videos of another of Plested creations: #KellyZee, the girl addicted to hashtags and stick-it notes. Some gags work, others not so much. We are going to need a bigger Twitter.
For the finale, Plested combines all the elements that go before and adds a thick layer of social satire with excellent effect. The laughter was loud and the applause, long.
Clare Plested is both funny and genuinely witty, which allows her to interact fully with audiences, whether in or out of character. She is also energetic and physically brave performer who squeezes the last dregs of pulpy laughter from people.
If you enjoy banter, interaction (or love seeing it happen to others) plus comedic character creation, invest an hour at Ciao Roma. Please feed the artists on the way out. Oh, and Clare: hope the rash clears up soon.
If you want to know what that means, see the show.
Reviewer: Martin Veart (Seen 16 August)