My Solo Shows
From puberty to post-Python, from glamour girl to glamour gran, share the glitz and grit through songs, jokes and anecdotes.
In 1994 I was asked to perform something for the annual 'Brighton Festival'. I didn't have much time so I thought it best to put a show together around something I knew a fair bit about without having to do too much research... like GLAMOUR! Having never done a one-woman show, never written anything and never produced anything before... this was quite a challenge!
The first thing was to find a director, which was easier than I'd thought it would be. A friend Jonathan Kiley, who is now executive producer of Qdos Productions, offered to do the job and was a great stage manager as well! Jonathan also introduced me to Simon Grey, pianist, composer and producer, who did a splendid job of accompanying me on the keyboard. We had a lot of fun putting it all together!
The venue couldn't have been more delightful. I had a room in our wonderful Brighton Pavilion. The show was well attended and well received. I was invited to do a live interview with Sheridan Morley on the Radio 2 Arts Program, to include an extract from my show. So flushed was I with my success that I chose to sing my own song, 'The W.W. Song'......a sweet little ditty about my hysterectomy!! (Can't believe I did that!!)
I performed the show again at a Cult TV Convention in 1995 and the following year on the cruise ship QE2. Since then, it's been adapted several times in order to bring it up to date (I have a song called Nobody Wants a Glamour Girl When She's 50... well, I can hardly keep singing that!) and have presented it at various venues in Brighton... where I was living at the time... and more recently, for the Shoreham Wordfest. I'm happy to say that it's always well received!
PomPoms Up! is a semi- autobiographical, humorous, melodic and informative look at the Hollywood glamour business.
Beginning with a brief history of my early teenage days living just outside Hollywood, I describe my ambition to follow in the footsteps of my glamorous movie idols... Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor... and the various stages that most starlets had to go through to reach the top... modelling, beauty pageants and serving cocktails as a Playboy Penthouse Bunny. I, myself did all of these things and won several 'beauty' titles... Miss California Navy, Miss Teen Queen and finally, after returning to England... Miss Paddington Shopping Queen! (Cue song!)
I then move on to what it takes to stay at the top once one has got there... face jobs, nose jobs, teeth jobs, eye jobs, bum jobs, boob jobs... everybody gets 'jobbed' in Hollywood! They are also keep fit fanatics, so I get all the ladies in the audience to participate in my own Personal PomPom Pumping Programme.
And finally, the indignity of aging and how even the most glamorous stars are subjected to the dreaded mammogram! I think the guy who invented that contraption must hate women with a passion! The show sometimes ends with the audience being initiated into my fan club by singing along to the Carol Cleveland Song. This was written for me by an adoring fan some years ago; who I think must have been quite drunk at the time!
Most of the material is original, including the songs. My favourites are Miss Paddington Shopping Queen... which I've also sung with the backing of Brighton's 'Actually Gay Men's Chorus'... and The WW Song, because it's rather Pythonesque. Altogether, the show is fun, glamorous, original, informative and a little outrageous. Well, what else would you expect from 'the 7th Python'?!
What's Happening Magazine, October 2011
By Diana Frangi
"It was a full house at the Latest Music Bar on August 31st as loyal devotees joined a new generation of fans to celebrate Carol Cleveland's incredible career in her semi-autobiographical send-up of the world of glamour, 'PomPoms Up'.
The doyenne of sexy comedy actresses, Carol relived a life that has taken her from glamour girl to glamour gran, sharing the glitz and grit through songs, jokes and anecdotes.
Using her own amazing experiences, not least as the only woman in the Monty Python line-up, Carol wows the audience as a comedienne in her own right and reveals a new dimension to her talent - singing some hilarious songs, including her own composition, 'The W W Song', which follows nobly in the Pythonesque tradition in being (probably!) the very first comedy song about a hysterectomy.
In what could be seen as a tongue-in-cheek glamour master class, Carol draws from her experience as a beauty queen, Playboy Bunny and model to share tips and secrets on how to become a glamour girl (or boy!). The audience leave not only laughing at her jokes, but not quite sure where, in her account of glamour in show-biz, reality ends and fantasy begins. If you missed the show you can catch the next one on October 26th at Latest Music Bar, Brighton."