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Brighton Fringe 2011

Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues

Sam Devereaux

Genre: Drama


Laughing Horse at The Caroline of Brunswick


Low Down

A study in the decline fo stardom, well delivered by a strong performer.


June 26 1979…Without a song the day would never end…

Playing Vegas ain’t easy, and neither is the Caroline of Brunswick with an audience of three (including technician). FringeReview has a policy of reviewing the shows we see, not the shows we like to see, and I have no doubt that this show would shine better in a different venue, with proper theatre lighting, a delineated stage area, and some better blocking. This is not a site-specific piece and I wish I’d seen it at the Komedia.
A last night in Las Vegas…This is "a character study of a great entertainer who has become smothered by his own fame". Parallels with Elvis are rather clear. And this is a production that would benefit and deserves a proper venue and a bit more of input from a director. Sam Devereaux’s piece is just the right length, well written and very well acted. The singing is excellent, the music well chosen and pitched. The story is believable and the tragicomedy works a treat, It’s all let down by the staging in this venue and chandelier lighting.
The asthma and coughing isn’t as believable as it should be, the pacing is too slow in places, but I sense this isn’t the norm – it’s the result of playing to a small house in a small house.
This character study is partially successful. Devereaux inhabits the character well enough; however, the poorly paced flow smacks of self-direction. But I congratulate Sam Devereaux on holding the space and the character so ably. The remedy for the show, which is a scripted monologue, would be to lower the fourth wall and draw us, as audience, into a dialogue-feel. At the moment it isn’t always clear if there is intended to be a fourth wall or not. WIth such a talented performer and interesting story, there’s much to develop further here. Or, as suggested earlier, perhaps it all comes alive in the right perfomance space.
There’s sharp humour and wry observation waiting latently under the surface of this staging. Five star accents there’s the makings of a fine show here. Deveaux can sing and that lends credibility to the character and the show as a whole. 
The parallel between the Blues and Charlie’s real blues is a nice theatrical device, and the public confessional scene is painful to watch for all the right reasons. The loneliness comes through but there’s more to achieve here, with pacing and with attention to the script, making it a little more subtle.
I’d also add a little echo to the mic to create a better believability that we are in a large Vegas venue.
Well worth seeing, and lots of potential.