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Roulston and Young: Songs for Lovers (and Other Idiots) review at Laughing Horse, The Free Sisters, Edinburgh – ‘impeccable’

Sarah-Louise Young and Michael Roulston Sarah-Louise Young and Michael Roulston. Photo by Sin Bozkurt
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The thing that initially strikes you about Michael Roulston and Sarah-Louise Young is how fresh they both appear. Busy cabaret professional Roulston is in constant demand as a musical director and pianist supporting everybody from Dillie Keane to Dusty Limits, while Young, also a stalwart of the scene, has just finished a run of Heels of Glory in London before embarking this three-show fringe. They should surely seem jaded but Songs For Lovers (and other Idiots) is pure songbook cabaret, presented with pristine clarity and effortless bonhomie.

Touching on themes of personal and professional relationships, the tone may be light but the original musical numbers have bite, tempered with tunes reminiscent of Cole Porter, Noel Coward and Dolly Parton. These songs are further heightened by Young’s consummate vocal style, which is further complemented by Roulston’s consistently bright tenor.

Titles including I Fancy Your Father, The Walk of Shame and IPad Widow are achingly funny but there’s an edge too. The Letter relates a painful journey through separation to divorce, while Please Don’t Hand Me Your Baby was born out of a careless journalist’s casual misogyny. Roulston and Young have been collaborating for 10 years now, and judging by the polish of this performance, it’s been time very well spent.

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Effortless bonhomie and impeccable original songs