Sarah Millican - Credit crunch
This article is from 2008.
Sarah Millican is putting a sad past behind her and profiting from pain. Marissa Burgess pops round for a cuppa and finds that the Geordie comic may not be as dastardly as she wants us to believe
Who knows where the time went as I sat gabbing with Sarah Millican in her flat in a regenerated inner city area of Manchester. We’re here to chat about Millican’s debut Fringe show and her plan to bribe audiences with biscuits. ‘Look! “Not Nice” biscuits,’ she exclaims holding out a Tupperware container full of Nice biscuits with hot pink icing transforming the etching at the top into ‘Not Nice’, the name of her show. ‘I think there’s a natural distrust when you offer audiences something to eat when it’s not individually wrapped in plastic. They’re laughing at me but don’t know where my hands have been.’
Consequently there’ll be no tea break halfway through the show as she’d initially planned. ‘I tried it and it didn’t work; I even made a flask of tea and took little sachets of sugar. I was all prepared. You know when something in practice doesn’t work anywhere near as well as you thought?’
Still, the tea break may not have been popular in her preview shows, but the material is going down well. It stems from her stand-up set, a funny yet uplifting discourse about splitting with her husband and the inner strength that she discovered, which also got her up on stage. Millican has been a widely-discussed talent since her first forays on the circuit. With a sharp wit, musical Geordie vowels and likeable stage persona, she was awarded runner-up position in both the BBC New Comedy Award and So You Think You’re Funny? and won the Amused Moose new act competition.
In Not Nice, Millican explores the kind of questions people ask themselves when they go through a major break-up particularly with their first and (at that point) only lover. ‘Like, what if I’m not any good at the sex?!’ she confesses with mock horror. ‘Oh my god! My husband was my one and only partner; what if he’d just been polite for seven years: “I’ve just had enough of pretending that it’s going well, she’s wanting to do things that aren’t normal!” So I had to think about that.’
But ultimately, Millican is more concerned that her show, rather than being a worthy diatribe on behalf of the independent woman, is funny. ‘I want people to come out and maybe have done a little bit of a wee or had some kind of mild chest pains. That’s what I’d like; that’s my aim, really. If somebody could fall off their chair . . . ‘ Having seen Millican several times on the circuit, we must warn you that you might want to take a few cushions to ensure a soft landing.
Sarah Millican, Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 2–24 Aug (not 13), 7.15pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8–£9). Previews until 1 Aug, £5.