DTR - Reviews of Ask Scarlett

Ask Scarlett

Thu 2nd – Tue 14th August 2018

reviews

Shauna Lewis

at 08:59 on 7th Aug 2018

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‘Ask Scarlett’ promises to solve "the bizarre, the crazy, the most ludicrous predicaments", yet fails to mention that it in fact embodies all of the above. Scarlett Lashes parades in front of a small audience for an hour, singing through the outlandish problems of men and women in their day-to-day lives, but not really making anything better, especially for the people watching.

The show wasn’t quite a car crash; there were laughs coming from the audience, but most of them developed from a sense of glaring discomfort. There’s audience participation, then there’s putting your head in a man’s crotch for an extended amount of time. People felt awkward watching and as her sketches continued, the jokes became cruder and the songs seemed to go on for longer.

In her opening number, Scarlett took a jab at men being emotional. Scarlett, who later revealed herself to be a feminist, encouraged men to repress their emotions in the dating. It was possible she was taking a look at how ridiculous it is to tell men to suppress their issues, but she hammered home the point so thoroughly it’s hard to have the faith to believe that.

No matter how uncomfortable we all felt and looked, however, Scarlett would continue to look us in the eye and gyrate into our face. It was a talent really, but surely a good performance involved sensing what your audience is comfortable with. Here, it could have been reigned in a little bit just to accommodate.

As the show continued her exuberance seemingly just increased, even in the face of the less reactive audience. There was a lot to be admired as she stayed firmly in her characters, even as they grew more outrageous and outlandish. When the technical aspect of the show failed she handled it really well, and her off-the-cuff comments were funnier than most of the jokes and songs throughout.

Walking onto her performance area, her costume was all glitter and promised flamboyanc - which she delivered but not in the enjoyable way it was hoped for. We also learnt very quickly that despite being a cabaret act, her voice was neither strong nor did it carry. Although performed with vigour, it left much to be desired.

Promising comedy and cabaret but delivering neither, ‘Ask Scarlett’ descended into madness before the first song had even begun. If uncomfortably long eye contact and forced smiling is for you, enjoy. But otherwise, it’s an acquired taste, which doesn’t include mine.

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Ed Strang

at 09:34 on 7th Aug 2018

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Have you ever gazed upon an imploding sun with the naked eye? Well, to do so would be more enjoyable than going to this show, because at least then you would be blind. ‘Ask Scarlett’ follows the loosely-joined narrative of an agony aunt providing answers to a number of inexplicably sexual questions, including ‘should I shave my balls for my girlfriend’ and ‘what part of a chicken is best to eat?’ Spoiler: she likes the thighs.

Scarlett’s answers to these questions is given in song, leading to an incredibly visceral and uncomfortable experience. Choosing to sit in the front row of a six-person crowd is a mistake at the best of times, especially when the performer gets so close you can see her tonsils during a particularly fervent rendition of ‘My Granny is a Troll’.

The act is undoubtedly energetic but it is hard to know what audience it is aimed at. The overly sexual overtures throughout suggest that teenagers might enjoy this show best, but there is a fair amount of young adult relationship-centric banter thrown in as well. The result is a show that feels somewhere between a children’s birthday party and a cruise-liner talent show. Scarlett’s manic energy feels somewhat displaced, and she ends up behaving like that too-drunk middle aged Maid of Honour at a hen do – the one with a sash pulled loosely across her body, tottering about on too-tall heels and lewdly screaming at men to show them their balls.

It seems like a bizarre choice to perform a singing and dancing show when one cannot sing, dance, act, or write jokes, but that is exactly what happens here. The punchlines are delivered by screaming swear words or talking about ‘granny’s pussy’, and the whole thing feels contrived.

Personally, the best part of the show for me was watching the couple next to me eating a delicious looking pizza; that second hand experience was far less excruciating than what was unfolding in front of me. Scarlett’s enthusiasm, verve, and ambition was palpable and admirable, and some of the pre-recorded sketches genuinely funny, but unfortunately she misses the mark on this occasion.

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