More Dennis Wise that Didier Drogba
The name may sound transatlantic but Chelsea P Manders is most definitely not American. Manders is all about Canada – and there were a few countrymen in the audience to cheer along her mix of songs, satire and crunching put-downs.
Clad in the brightest, tightest red dress and with a shock of blonde hair, Manders cuts a striking figure on the stage. She enters in darkness and begins a rich parody of the benign world-view of the typical Canadian folk singer.
“I dream of a world devoid of hate … I dream of children playing in fields with non-allergenic trees.” So far, so good, but it will be a challenge for Manders to command the attention of British audiences with a send-up of a type of music we don’t hear as often as people do in her home patch of Victoria, British Columbia.
She has some good lines but struggles to make her hour as funny as it is, undoubtedly, memorable. The premise of her show, citing the absence of any childhood trauma – “how Chelsea overcame a supportive middle-class upbringing becoming the disturbed woman she is today” – will be wearingly familiar to Edinburgh festival-goers and it is hard to pick up any distinctive theme beyond her nationality.
Manders is undoubtedly quirky, and describes herself as a “comedian, folkstar, dodo bird enthusiast”, as well as being a stylish performer, but is some way short of the finished article. Musical comedy is a big enough challenge for British acts and, for all her charm, Manders’ routine does not quite make the leap from her homeland.
Review written by Peter Edwards