Carla is a cool rock 'n' roll ventriloquist who escaped a miserable childhood and adolescence in Kentucky to make it to the big time here in Gotham. After seeing more solo shows (both live and on video) than, well, most people, I think she possesses in spades the most important element: being the sort of performer that people are happy to watch for an hour. It sounds so simple, so obvious. Yes, it's sometimes ever so elusive.
Carla is full of self-deprecating Southern charm, and her interactions with the awful under-bed alligator, a homeless squirrel and disturbing vaudevillian Cecil Sinclaire (pictured left) are all hugely entertaining. The show as a whole needs some work. Though Carla is a terrific performer, I felt the need for a little more forward momentum. The show is divided between her bedroom at home and her arrival in NYC, and there are simply too many numbers that all take place in one setting and don't really lead her anywhere new.
This really does seem to be ventriloquism week here at The Cabinet! That said, feel free to give Miss Arkansas a miss, and head downtown (or, uptown or into town, depending on where you're coming from), and catch Carla's very cool show. She'll be back at Arlene's Grocery on February 20.
Photo: Leslie Van Stelten