Loretta Maine: I'm Not Drunk, I Just Need to Talk to You, Just the Tonic @ the Caves, Edinburgh
Thursday 19 August 2010
The troubled US singer-songwriter Loretta Maine was the star character of British comedian Pippa Evans's 2008 award-nominated show, and thus the best bet for a solo showcasing. Choosing Maine was not only wise but another sign that, despite its previously much maligned status, musical comedy is very much in the ascendant. You could easily see Maine wailing her woes in an episode of Flight of the Conchords, the show that has done much to bring about this comedic sea change.
Maine belongs to a recognisable stable of bitter songstresses and swigs on a screw-topped bottle of wine, while spewing out her vitriol any which way. "I know you got my emails because I checked your inbox!" she sings, trumping her ex-lover before delivering a final, fatal, coup de grâce.
Maine, with her eye-make up irrevocably smudged from the start, sounds like a Valley Girl gone bad. She's always on the back foot, unlucky in love and not to cool with her mother either. She is the voice of the song "It's You", in which she advises Maine: "Just aim low/ Ain't no disappoint-ment if there's nowhere to go."
Not every one of Maine's listenable tunes has a couplet so rich and pithy, and there's only a cursory attempt to give her backing band a back story, which is a pity. With musical comedy there's always room to turn the dial up to 11, a la Spinal Tap. Here the reading is hovering somewhere between good and great.
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