Sarah Kendall: A Day in October
A shaggy dog schooldays story impeded slightly by its performance
This article is from 2015.
At the start of A Day in October, Sarah Kendall confesses that she prefers 'stories to real life' and so what follows is a shaggy dog story of questionable veracity. The tale itself – about a fellow pupil bullied at school and Kendall's subsequent, awkward relationship with him – frequently alternates between whimsy and melancholy. Right from the strong opening, Kendall drops hints that events will eventually take a dark turn and there's an intrigued, cautious atmosphere in the room as we're never quite sure where this journey is headed.
As the plot unfolds, Kendall layers each twist with a theatrical fizz, occasionally punctuating her story with a crowd-pleasing flourish. At times, however, it feels forced, and it can be distracting to see her overact. From the middle of the show, the mood dips, with Kendall struggling to draw humour from the dour material, and when she does conjure a laugh there's a strong suspicion she's achieved it by sacrificing truth for levity.
A Day in October is an absorbing hour which sparks off in interesting directions. It's a narrative which, in idiosyncratic style, meanders unpredictably, taking fascinating detours while effortlessly painting an exhaustive picture. But Kendall's performance has a tendency to overshadow her script, and with the truth already so ambiguous, the heart of this story remains frustratingly elusive.
Assembly George Square Studios, 623 3030, until 31 Aug, 6.45pm (extra shows 29 Aug, 11.45pm; 30 Aug, 11pm), £10– £12 (£9– £11).