Having seen Company the previous night, I had everything crossed that Caroline,or Change would come through for me and it certainly did.
I knew two things going into the Playhouse Theatre.
1.) Graham Norton had tweeted:
2.) There was going to be a singing washing machine…
Now, in my mind a singing washing machine evoked an image of a person with a painted up cardboard box flung over their head. This was not to be the case (thankfully). The way in which inanimate objects are given life in this show is brilliant yet somewhat bonkers.
It would in fact be fair to say that the show itself is rather unusual in its choices. Think Mighty Boosh vibes. For me, the moon was the weirdest element of the show, I can’t pretend to understand the involvement of the character but I enjoyed her quirkiness and vocal abilities nonetheless.
It is these vocal abilities that make Caroline, or Change so utterly fantastic. The entire cast deliver flawless performances with voices so beautiful I only wish there was a cast recording. Caroline, played by Sharon D Clarke is mesmerising. Whilst she plays a character who at times should be considered unlikeable to the audience, Sharon overpowers this with her stunning, soulful voice.
Now could I tell you the exact details of the show? No. At times, I felt I had to really choose which character to listen to as I experienced somewhat of a sensory overload. I’m not ashamed to admit it took me a while to connect the dots and realise this is in fact a story about change *I know, the idiocy isn’t lost on me either*. Set in Louisiana in the year 1963 we see Caroline struggle with the repetitive work of a maid in a time of great change in the country around her. I found the moments shared on stage with her daughter Emmie to be particularly moving and impactful.
You may have noticed, I’m not keen to go into too much detail about the show itself because a.) if you’re reading this you probably already have Caroline, or Change on your radar and b.) I personally feel this is a show in which you should go in with little expectation or idea of what it will be.
Once you settle in and get over the initial hit of eccentricity, you find a heartfelt story of family and opportunity performed by some of the best talent I have ever witnessed. So we can skim over the random clarinet playing and singing moon for the sake of a vocal performance of a lifetime from Sharon D. Clarke and her cast.