Review: Eliza & Martin Carthy: East at Brighton Dome

While there was a high level of technical competence on display, this show failed to get out of first gear.

Review: Eliza & Martin Carthy: East at Brighton Dome

At the beginning of this 2-hour slog, Eliza Carthy announced that this was was going to be a very loosely themed collection of mythologies, folklores, tales etc from the East of England. Regrettably, the looseness meant that there was no real core to the show, and as such the whole thing never really left the runway. Martin Carthy's anecdotes about starting in the music businesses and charming-old-man ramblings about how "you can get [certain recordings] on CD" were delightful, and Eliza Carthy's powerful, dynamically versatile voice and high-velocity fiddling were excellent, but there was something missing about the show as a whole.

There were several novel elements—percussion was provided by a banjolele-playing tap dancer, a succession of older actors and musicians were brought on to provide poetry and additional music. But they didn't provide anything more than oft-bewildering punctuation to an overall-underwhelming show. There were visuals on the projector complementing each song that, while pleasant, reminded me of a pretentious Titantron—which was funny because I found myself wishing that someone would come out and deliver stunners to all concerned as the show crawled into its closing stretch.

It was also nice to see the performers enjoying their first gig in ages, but regrettably it didn't translate back to us; it was a variety show which offered an uninteresting variety and not much of a show. Ultimately, while there was a high level of technical competence on display, and occasional hints of showperson charisma shone through, it failed to ever get out of first gear or cohere into something more than a collection of bits.

Eliza and Martin Carthy: East was a one-day show. For future appearances click here for Eliza and here for Martin.