Sarah Kendall @ Assembly George Square

Sarah Kendall tumbles through the comedy continuum

Review by Stu Black | 07 Aug 2017
  • Sarah Kendall

Sarah Kendall has come unstuck in time. In her new show, the understated Australian storyteller weaves together a quite beautiful series of episodes from across her life, forming a panoramic glissando through time and space.

Each anecdote is resolutely human, but everything has a cosmic edge: from her family waiting in the garden to see Halley’s Comet, to a meltdown at a hospital about her young son, then a tribute to a Grandma with an otherworldly secret, and an elegy to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Kendall makes you feel like you are tumbling through wormholes with her so that together you experience the sense of entropy that shimmers on the borders of every memory (not just hers but everyone’s). It’s extremely zen – with a Taoist story about luck used as a refrain to emphasise the idea that life is for living, not just judging or fretting about.

It’s a show that takes its time – carefully building up to jokes then expertly blending these with darker insights about the limits of our human state. Kendall is able to draw your tears as she considers cancer and autism but can then push them back into your tear ducts with a classically timed gag.

It’s a bravura performance, smooth and sophisticated. Kendall says at one point that she’d have liked to find a Doc to whisk away her Marty McFly-like teenage self. It seems like now she’s the one revving up to 88 mph for us.

Sarah Kendall: One-Seventeen, Assembly George Square (Studio 2), 2-27 Aug, 7pm, £9.50-£12.50 http://www.assemblyfestival.com