Antipodean cabaret chanteuse Claire Healy returns to this years Edinburgh Fringe with her new offering Playdough Face. A charmingly simple one woman cabaret show – covering topics as diverse as scone making, the ideal Diet-Coke Man and the prevalence of misogyny in pop music.
As we enter the space, a room that could either be described as intimate, or small, depending on your prejudice, we are greeted by the charmingly bubbly Claire Healy as she sits behind her piano and chats to us as we find our seats. Her warmth as a performer radiates as she welcomes us in. The transition from pre-show chatter into the show itself is almost imperceptible. Indeed throughout the show Healy’s disarmingly friendly and upbeat character gives us the sense we’re having a catch up with a very old and very dear friend – rather than watching a cabaret show.
However any sense of the mundane and day-to-day is swept away when Claire opens her mouth and sings. Her girl next door persona suddenly gives way to a voice of pure sex – occasionally injected with razor sharp venom.
High points of the show include the sexiest song about dinosaurs you’re ever likely to hear, an hilarious game of ‘I have never’ with audience participation, copious chocolate digestives, and the best musical goldfish impression you will see on the Fringe. It’s a shame that the very simple facilities at Sweet Venue didn’t offer her anything more in the way of staging or lighting. In the same way her very natural and understated storytelling gave way to epic song – it would have been wonderful if this shift could have been mirrored in the staging itself. But this is a potentially a minor and insignificant complaint when Healy’s effervescent personality bought the whole stage alive by itself. This is a small but perfectly formed cabaret gem.
Sweet Grassmarket (Venue 18)
13:30 Aug 19-24