Interview: Sarah Kendall - 'Really good storytellers are just dangerous liars in a sense'

This article is from 2016

Fringe interview: Sarah Kendall - ‘There’s this weird alchemy when you say it out loud to people’

Making the move from stand-up to storytelling has paid off in spades for Sarah Kendall as she brings us her third narrative-driven hour

Last year, Sarah Kendall was nominated for her second Edinburgh Comedy Award with A Day in October, a shaggy dog story with a heart-wrenching twist. Its success has emboldened the Australian performer to focus on storytelling over stand-up as she embarks on her third narrative-led piece, Shaken. 'It's a story within a story about a lie that I told when I was a teenager, a lie which spiralled out of control. The show is also very much about storytelling.'

An ambiguous distinction between fact and fiction was also at the heart of last year's show and its resurgence suggests Kendall still relishes the dichotomy. 'It's an examination of storytelling and the line between storytelling and lying, because you could argue that really good storytellers are just dangerous liars in a sense, so it toys with that.' Although Kendall has been performing at the Fringe since 2003, she still dreads the process of conjuring up an idea. 'I never go, "the ideas are just pouring out of me!" At the beginning of the process I think, "my god, how am I gonna do this? I've got nothing!"'

Kendall has previewed her show in the run-up to Edinburgh and she believes it has grown much stronger as a result. 'I don't know why this is, but no matter what I do with my laptop, whenever I do it in front of a roomful of people, so many things become much clearer in terms of where things aren't working and what needs to be finely tuned and what needs to go altogether. I just can't figure that out on my own at a laptop. There's this weird alchemy that when you say it out loud to people, you just get a sense of the bits that don't feel right. It makes me hugely respectful of novelists.'

Sarah Kendall: Shaken, Assembly George Square Studios, 623 3030, 6–28 Aug, 6.45pm, £10.50–£12.50 (£9.50–£11.50). Previews 3–5 Aug, £7.

Sarah Kendall: Shaken

  • 4 stars

Sarah Kendall's new show is based around her experiences of a major earthquake that hit her small town in 1989. From this, we garner tales of stalkers, lies and overpriced sausages.