The 2011 Edinburgh Fosters award nominated comedian Cariad Lloyd has come freewheelin’ back again this year with a brand new show.
Fresh from her successful 2012 Edinburgh show, where she performed the newest additions to her character comedy, she has now bought the show to the Leicester Square Theatre. For 6pm on a Sunday night, there is a real buzz in the room from the audience, and Cariad certainly doesn’t disappoint. From the moment she cycles onstage to the end of the show, her original and diverse character choices and perfectly structured performance keep the entire audience in the palm of her hand. Moving swiftly between Moomin Mama: Swedish Detective (featuring a grotesquely disfigured Moomin toy and some great references to the current trend in Swedish Detective dramas) to Joey Beschamel, the clever take off of Zooey Deschanels character in New Girl, showcases her superb comic timing and improvisational skills, involving the audience in a way that leaves no one on the front row feeling uncomfortable or awkward. She keeps the pace moving and the energy in the room high, so much so that I was stunned that an entire hour had passed so quickly. Its character comedy at its finest and leaves you wanting more.
TGUK: How did you start out in Comedy?
CL: I was an actor first of all doing very serious (and sometimes dreadful) theatre, but then I discovered improv, and got cast in a comedy sketch show, where I discovered this world where people made their own work and didn’t have to do two lines in a terrible play, so I started writing and performing and I created my first character Andrew, a seven year old boy in a Dr Who jumper (McCoy years) who does stand up and to my surprise other people liked it. It went from there really.
TGUK: When you begin to create a character, where do you take your inspiration from? Are they based on people you know/have met?
CL: They start from all differnet places really. Jacques Le Cock, parkour expert and rapper, was invented becasue I can pretend to rap in French really well, and I wanted to do a charcter that did that, as I realised I no one else was going to let me showcase this useless skill. Kitty Romford, the film noir femme fatale who works in Asda, started again because I love speaking as fast as possible film noir style and adding, ‘see kid?’ to the end of sentences. It’s usually things I like doing or a silly voice, Moominmamma – Scandanavian detective started with my bad Swedish accent, and just pretending to be a Moomin. It’s stuff I do round the house that is a bit odd but seems saner on stage.
TGUK: Who would be your dream comedy partner?
CL: That’s so hard! There’s so many amazing people out there. I’ve always loved Miranda Richardson, ever since Blackadder days, I just think she’s brilliant and there’s a delight to her acting. One of my heroes is Graeme Garden, he’s consistently hilarious without ever seeming like he’s trying, it’s flawless. And if Tina Fey ever wants someone to play her daughter, I will do that. Happily. I really want to play Tina Fey’s daughter. Does she read this? She should. (Hi Tina, please can I play your daughter?)
TGUK: Whats the worst gig you have ever played?
CL: I was headlining a comedy’n’curry night to 250 people on a Saturday in the suburbs, I was playing Andrew and doing 20 mins on the Russian Revolution. They were so confused it eventually became a good gig, because they had no understanding of why a 27 year old woman was dressed as a child and shouting about Lenin, somehow it went so bad, it went through bad and into brilliant. I wouldn’t want to do it again though.
TGUK: Whats been the high point of your career to date?
CL: Being nominated for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards last year was pretty special. I’d gone up with no agent, no producer, just me and my suitcase of stupid costumes. It was such a hard and scary thing to do, that the nomination really did feel so special. (trying to sound modest and very grateful here, hope it’s working).
TGUK: Do you ever get heckled when you are doing Character comedy?
CL: Yeah, not often, I think it’s much easier for character comics than stand up, you’re in a costume and they expect a bit of a distance between you and the audience. But I’ve had a few incidents. A woman just kept drunkenly saying Dr Who at me over and over again, is not that traumatic but it is distracting. In the end I just talked to her, she wanted my jumper, but what she needed was less tequila.
TGUK: Do you think that female comedians still have a more difficult time breaking into the industry than men do?
CL: It’s hard, female comedians get asked this a lot. My position is different, I don’t do straight stand up, and I think in the history of character comedy peple accept women much more than say they do, in stand up. But I do think it’s changing. I think you just have to keep doing your job, making people laugh and not think about whether your a man or a woman, that will eventually stop being important, and quicker if we don’t make it important.
TGUK: Where do you want to see yourself in the next 5 years?
CL: Hopefully still being silly, wearing a stupid costume somewhere, and enjoying myself. And also being Tina Fey’s daughter in her hit new US sitcom. Either would make me very happy.
Cariad Lloyd returns to the Soho Theatre on the 14th,15th, and 16th Feb 2013
by Becky Harper