Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Scarlet Shambles: It Used to Be Me, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Pollock
Scarlet Shambles glides in through the half-light of this old brick vault off the Cowgate (the show has been moved from the original Victoria Street venue), her bright red glitter lipstick and wide, expressive eyes shining. She moves through the audience, meeting individual pairs of eyes and moving as if to caress the owners, inhaling the scent of those around her. “So many beautiful faces and so many different ways to love,” she coos. All the while she’s singing a song of her own devising; a delicate, crystalline jazz singer’s croon to the subject of falling in love.
Themed around the subject of her own love life, real or imagined, she performs vignettes about the men she dropped, the men who dropped her and the time she was swept off her feet by a hugely attractive man who “smelled like clean sheets and tasted like heaven and metal”. The content is relatively slight and the whole affair structured more as a showcase for performer Charmaine Wombwell’s talents, but she isn’t short of them. A gifted and natural mime with sharp comic timing, Wombwell expresses emotion, action and a vivid eroticism in captivating style, while her singing voice is entrancing; at one point she commands herself to sing like Ella Fitzgerald, and does so with a mesmeric skill.
Just the Tonic at the Caves (Salvation Rooms) (Venue 88a), until 26 August, 12:30pm
Published in The Scotsman on 24 August 2015
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