Sarah Callaghan: 24

I like Sarah Callaghan. Last year’s debut hour, Elephant, stormed it.

Callaghan has all the skills to be a great comedian

Unfortunately, 24 started badly. The first few jokes didn’t land and after an unenthusiastic bit of audience participation in the form of a Mexican Wave failed to lift the mood, it was perhaps ill-advised for Callaghan to start discussing ‘wasting time’.

The overall conceit is fine. Callaghan is tagged in one of those ‘ten steps to improve your life in twenty-four hours’ Facebook memes and in a weak place, our comic decides to give it a go.

The first twenty minutes or so of the set are tonally all over the place. She jumps from being the likeable girl next door to making jokes about starving Africans. There’s nothing wrong with delivering near the knuckle material, but she plays it so safe, so often, during the first half of the show, that attempts to smuggle in edgier gags simply jolt.

Fortunately, Callaghan is a terrific storyteller and things improve considerably when the main through tale gets underway proper. Not that the story of a surprise trip to Paris is especially unique or inspiring, but we do see much more of what Callaghan is capable of. Suddenly, the script is tighter, the performer appears more confident and the laughs start to come. In contrast to the start, the last twenty minutes of 24 are terrific.

It’s a cliché, but an accurate one. Callaghan’s difficult second album has failed to match the brilliance of her debut. We have half a show of uneven filler before we get to the hit material. Callaghan has all the skills to be a great comedian. I’m still convinced that she is going to be a huge star. Judging from her past performances, I’m confident that this show is a dip in form and nothing more.

Reviews by Martin Walker

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The Blurb

Change your life in 24 hours? A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single cliche. Award-winning stand-up, Malcolm Hardee Award Nominee 2015. ‘Fiercely impressive’ **** (Scotsman). ‘A powerhouse. She’s an utter natural on stage’ **** ( ‘The instant she steps on the stage you know you’re in the presence of someone new and special’ ***** (Mirror).