Country singer Caroline Carter—aka Flick Ferdinando, director of 2009's Fringe hit Kim Noble Must Die—is making her Edinburgh Fringe debut, and she's very pleased to be here. She has picked up a dour guitarist from the back room of an Edinburgh boozer (the brilliantly laconic Barn Strachan) to accompany her, covered her song book with wrapping paper so it matches her set design and bought herself a natty tasselled jacket.
Carter is a terribly awkward but strangely likeable character, utterly self-obsessed but vulnerable at the same time. All of her songs, each of them allegedly written following conversations with melancholy souls after her not-so-glamorous gigs, are actually about her. Whether she's singing about a Greek girl waiting naked for her lover on a mountain top, or a graphic designer refusing to follow his father into the family business, Carter's disastrous relationship track record somehow comes through.
Ferdinando's joyously silly material keeps the audience giggling like children throughout. The mood reaches near hysteria halfway through the show when the singer exits for a particularly elaborate costume change and a member of the audience is brought on stage to act as barman during her absence, handing around plastic beakers of whisky and wine from a drinks trolley gloriously done up to resemble a covered wagon. This is pure Fringe theatre but The Caroline Carter Show never loses its dramatic integrity due to Ferdinando's unerring commitment to this very real, very human character. A treat from beginning to end.