Sarah Kendall - Get Up, Stand-Up
Anticipated comeback show is good rather than glorious
This article is from 2012.
When Sarah Kendall became the first woman in what felt like an entire generation to receive a solo Perrier nomination in 2004, her future glory seemed assured. But after one further Fringe stand-up show, a theatrical piece about a college initiation and an appearance in an all-female, few-laughs E4 sketch show, Beehive, she virtually disappeared off the comedy map.
Early on in this Edinburgh comeback show, the reason for her absence becomes clearer: she is now a mother, upsetting the air travellers of the world with her restless daughter. This entry into the realm of parenthood isn’t the sole topic of Get Up, Stand-Up, but a jumping-off point to reflect on society’s innate misogyny. Whether it’s via the R&B videos she spies on MTV Base or from the chatty ‘banter’ she encounters when trying to buy fruit, the world seems full of men viewing women simply as sexual beings rather than actual people. Though fellow females are also prone to a spot of patriarchy-pushing given that she receives a ‘gift’ of poledancing lessons.
All of which makes for a solid foundation of conscience-fuelled comedy, but she opts for overly-long point-making exercises that lose their edge quickly. Meanwhile, her analysis of ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and her attempts to rewrite the tale as a more suitable bedtime story for her child is lumbering; for an uproarious finale, it’s a total damp squib.
At the very beginning of her show, Kendall notes the proliferation of hype at the Fringe with every poster proclaiming the disproportionate number of geniuses in town. It almost acts as a warning that we shouldn’t be expecting too much from Kendall. For her fans, we’ll just have to accept her as being a fine comic now rather than a great one.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 27 Aug, 8.30pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).