From funny girl to funny lady, Carole Shaw has spent years making audiences laugh

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From funny girl to funny lady, Carole Shaw has spent years making audiences laugh

Here’s what you need to know about the performer born in Stoke Newington who now plays the Queen…..

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

When did you know you were meant to be on stage?

Interesting question. Was I meant to be on the stage? When I was six or seven I put on shows with my older sister and a friend for local kids in the summer holidays on our estate in Clapton. The kids would sit on a pedestrian circle, no cars or yellow lines like there are today – and we would entertain them. I did want to be a ballerina as a child, but realised quickly I wasn’t going to make the grade. So I became studious, had a sensible career but always hankered to perform. I  was able to go back to it much later in life. Possibly better than trying to pull it off when I was 18.

How would you describe an evening with Carole Shaw?

A fun, entertaining experience with audience participation and some unexpected lessons on the way.

Is there only one Carole or many in your repertoire?

I have actually been doing one character for most of the time – the late Queen Elizabeth II or Di Malke Basheve di Tsveyte, if I do the Jewish/Yiddish version

Do you sing too?

Yes, there’s comedic and serious singing. I take some well-known songs from musical theatre and change the words. So for comedic there’s: I Got Plenty o’Nuttin; With a Marriage in a Carriage with the Crown on the Top; Can’t Help Lovin’ Dem Dogs of Mine. There’s a quiz for guests to guess where the songs are came from (as in Name That Tune). There’s also a singalong and a rap.

Are audiences guaranteed a night of laughter?

Absolutely. Spontaneous combustion guaranteed

Who does your costumes?

Me. There’s only one costume at present

Any props in the act?

Minimal props. Table and chairs but I have a corgi or two, a handbag, a photo of Prince Philip (Feivel if it’s the Jewish act) and a Union Jack

Where do you live?

East Ham (what’s a nice Jewish gal doing living in a place called Ham?)

How far will you travel to perform?

As far as the Antipodes, USA but usually to Brighton or Edinburgh.

Do you perform at simchas?

Yes, if people engage me. Available for birthdays, brises, bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, funerals and all stations in-between.

Worst performance tale?

When I was starting out and the singing was all off-key, I tried singing the song (Can’t Help Lovin’ Dem Dogs of Mine) as a serious ballad. My friend in the audience reassured me they were wetting themselves laughing, but I thought I was ‘proper singing’. So I changed it to a comedic rendition, accompanied with exercises, and have never looked back.

And the best moment?

When the elastic in my skirt broke during the act, the skirt fell down and the audience erupted. Hard to keep a straight face afterwards. Luckily, I had on a long Superwoman t-shirt as part of the costume and that preserved HM’s modesty.

Biggest Inspiration?

The late Queen continues to be a huge inspiration. She was a real mensh despite all around her. But also other comics/shows like Morecambe & Wise, Dad’s Army, Victoria Wood, Ben Elton, Dawn French

Jewish hero?

Golda Meir, Rosalind Franklin (co-discoverer of DNA, though she died before she achieved recognition and the Nobel Prize), Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

What is your career dream?

Ah, now you’ve asked!  Two big dreams. I aim high:

To take a show entitled Carole at the Carnegie to Carnegie Hall, New York, break the record set by Liza Minelli of 17 sell-out performances and take Broadway by storm. And to become the first Lady Leader of the Labour Party, lead it to victory in the 2028/9 election and then become the first Lady Labour and Jewish Prime Minister, and about time too.

Where can we see you ?

At Brighton Fringe May 7-10 & 13-15

At Wandsworth Fringe June 8-10 & 13 (tickets on sale from 24/4/24)

At Scarborough-Fringe June 21-23


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