Caroline Rhea Gilded Balloon

Any fans of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch out there? If so you will know Caroline better as Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda in the 1990s TV series. I watched it occasionally with my daughters when they were young and was intrigued to see what Caroline’s comedy stand up show would be like.

There were plenty of fans in the audience but she warned them from the start that the show would be “very different” from Sabrina and that certainly was the case as some of her material and language was earthy to say the least. There was a lot of interaction with the audience, asking where everyone came from and bonding with the Americans who she was glad to see were laughing out loud. She described the Scots on the other hand as internalising their emotions, including their laughter and how difficult it was to get a reaction from us. Maybe we’re harder to please? I didn’t find her set to be laugh out loud funny all the way through, there were some funny moments but there were also some boring bits. The slide show she uses in the middle of the set is too long, too many family snaps are not particularly funny or interesting.

Where her set works best is when she uses the audience interaction to spin off into her own comic stories, for example a discussion with one lady in the audience about her marriage led on to a hilarious piece about men’s snoring. Her material revolves mainly around her family – her four year old daughter, her eighty year old mother, her sisters, her ex-partner and his new girlfriend about whom she is wonderfully rude. She also successfully managed the blunt Yorkshireman in the audience who had “never seen or heard of” Sabrina and who thought he was a bit of a wag.

She is a likeable character who is able to poke fun at herself and her audience in an affectionate way. However, I feel her set needs to be tightened up a bit, and maybe it’s time now to move on from Sabrina.

Irene Brownlee