Sarah Kendall’s stand-up routine has a different format to most: it’s all centred around a single tale, and it’s in the hands of someone who really knows their way around storytelling. In fact, that’s what it’s about: how Sarah learnt to tell tall tales, and get away with it. And turn it into material for a stand-up show at the Fringe.
There’s much hilarity here in how Sarah wittily uncovers the mechanics of both lying and story-telling
Personally, I love a good story, so Sarah’s kind of comedy is very refreshing; it’s sustained rather than cut up into segmented stand-up bits, but the story as a whole needs to be solid for it to work. Sarah’s certainly is, and I particularly enjoyed the storytelling-in-a-story structure: she’s telling us about telling a story to her therapist, which opens up a whole new area for comedy. Hearing how she treated her therapy sessions as comedy shows is amusing in itself.
Sarah treats us to what happens when an overlooked teenager tells a lie and it soon spirals out of control. Having told her schoolfellows about the man who supposedly tried to abduct her on her way to school, teenaged Sarah gets both the welcome popularity and the unwelcome policemen; it’s the biggest thing to happen in Newcastle (Australia) and everyone’s talking about it. Mounting inconsistencies and mounting stakes align as Sarah confronts the principal, policemen, journalists and her whole community, all of whom are captivated by the story. And so are we. She spins a very good yarn. There’s plenty of jokes, both throwaway lines and running jokes that weave back into the story. Her mother’s constant non-sequiturs are one amusing minor example of this.
Is any of it true? Well, that’s the gist of it, as Sarah would say. There’s much hilarity here in how Sarah wittily uncovers the mechanics of both lying and story-telling (ironies like her distrust of journalists who would “make things up” and her outrage at a fellow student who takes up the false story too are particularly apt), but there’s also a sobering yet touching end to this tale. As a performer, Sarah is an engaging raconteur and well worth a listen.