Sarah Callaghan: Elephant (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

Sarah Callaghan: Elephant

credit: Steve Ullathorne

A disorienting debut that has problems with tone and content

Sarah Callaghan has complaints and concerns that many an early twentysomething will relate to. Trapped in a social backwater and culturally stifling environment (let’s call it Uxbridge in north-west London) and with little prospects on the job, property and love fronts, her bedroom at home is a bijou prison, the broken curtain rail a less than subtle signifier of a damaged existence.

Obsessed with footwear (there’s a gag which neatly wordplays on ‘Imelda Marcos’) and getting ahead, Callaghan is every inch the attitude-laden, no-nonsense, hoodie-wearing working-class young woman. Her tough exterior is somewhat blunted by the girlie bow pinched in her hair, and this curious contradiction might have minds beginning to query. Although we assume that the real Sarah Callaghan is talking before us, the hour’s semi-theatricality means that Elephant often comes across like a one-woman monologue that’s been created for her rather than a pure stand-up show from the heart.

The resulting effect is a disorienting one and not necessarily in a wholly positive way. When she gets down to them, some of her jokes are poor and Callaghan resorts to jousting with senior members of the audience rather than anyone who comes close to being in her own age bracket. It’s another odd move in an ultimately frustrating debut show.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 17), 5.50pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10).

Sarah Callaghan: Elephant

  • 3 stars

The comic discusses small worlds and trying to break free.