Michael Roulston and Sarah-Louise Young perform their show Two Faced at the Crazy Coqs, London until 19 March.
Star rating: 4 stars ★ ★ ★ ★
I came to this show thinking that I knew nothing about the artists and that they were totally unknown to me. Oh dear! I should have done my homework better, for this Sarah-Louise Young was the same Sarah-Louise Young that I had seen last Saturday afternoon in Jerry’s Girls at the St James Studio!
The same? Not quite. The previous one was demure, emitting an aura of sweet innocence, while this one is bold, sassy and capable of shocking – more of which anon.
Roulston, her songwriting partner of nine years, provides piano and vocal accompaniment as well as playing stooge to the outrageous Young. Together they deliver a highly entertaining and wildly wicked programme of original musical comedy. Their work seems like a return to the golden era of cabaret and revue with many of their numbers telling sketch-like stories.
Many songs reflect personal issues. ‘Perfect Match’ is the riposte to both sets of parents questioning why the pair of them are not married to each other, while ‘Much Much Older’ follows Young’s raunchy confession of an encounter on a train with a boy half her age.
Infuriated with intrusive questioning as to why she has not had any children, Young (with Roulston) has written ‘Please Don’t Hand Me Your Baby’. The number has a certain wistfulness that leads one to think that the song is a lament for not being able to fulfil her maternal instinct, but it has a twist that is hilarious.
Other songs wittily deal with social media status updates, gift shops at stately homes and self-help schemes suggesting quality time with oneself.
A couple of numbers allow Young to slip into her alter ego, Bernie Sinclair. Clad in a sparkling sheath dress and donning a silver grey wig, she becomes ‘A Diva of a Certain Age’ who has failed to make it. It is a wicked creation that has echoes of Liza Minnelli and Carol Channing.
Young is superb both as a singer and a true comedienne and receives excellent support from the slightly overshadowed Roulston.
Having discovered the talented Roulston and Young, I will be on the lookout for any future shows.