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Cariad Lloyd: Lady Cariad's Characters

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Diminutive Cariad Lloyd is already the funniest quarter of sketch group Men of War at the Pleasance Courtyard. But it's her Free Fringe show that showcases this offbeat and promisingly original comedian at her best.

An hour in the company of Lady Cariad and her characters is a window into the weirdness that lurks within every family, from would-be stand-up Andrew (Russian revolution geek, seven years old) to Alison, the least talented of an already two-bit troupe of magicians. Alison's not good with people ("I don't do banter"), but the opposite is true of her creator.

Lloyd's screwy portraits emerge almost entirely in conversation and/or flirtation with the audience, while improvisation shows she has their back stories completely sorted. In the case of psycho Cock-er-ney Sam, worringly so.

Because it's not just Cariad's characters in the room but their oddball relatives, too. Ironic that Lloyd's own family is also in on the day I attend, flashing cameras and heckling with gusto. It definitely puts her off but to her credit she simply mines them for more material.

If this is Lloyd at half-throttle, I'd love to see her size three foot on the pedal. And did I mention the one-liners? "I thought I saw a genie once, but it were only a box of tissues." I'm still giggling at that one.

- Nancy Groves


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