Sarah Kendall – Belfast Comedy Festival | Review
The Black Box • Thursday 06 October ’16
By Nerys Coleman
Why do we lie? What is that intangible desire to exaggerate, embellish, even invent stories? Is it really to make us appear more interesting? Or is it actually for the greater love of good, old-fashioned entertainment?
The concept of reality versus fiction is the cornerstone of Kendall’s Edinburgh Fringe act ”Shaken”. Fortunately, in a world where fronting as a perfect human being with a perfect life has become an online epidemic, stand-up remains the dependable environment where we can openly relish the less aesthetic symptoms of the human condition.
Having learnt a small but valuable lesson from a teenage reenactment of Ferris Bueller’s Day off, where expectation saw Kendall joy-riding in an exciting cityscape, and reality saw her sitting alone in a car park in the rain, staring at a poster of the young Broderick, she quickly realised that going to school wasn’t so bad after all. So it was with suitable panic that just days after this non-event, Kendall became distraught when she missed the morning bus to school, much to the amusement of her fellow passengers.
What ensued that day in December 1989, comprises the next 45 minutes of the show and an intricate detailing of her first-rate, call the police, phone the newspapers and give-me-a-chair-now lie.
It is undoubtedly Kendall’s ability to emphasise the ‘hard done by’ and cavalier thoughts of a typical teenager that makes her and the story so relatable and tickling. With an unmistakable writer’s flair and a natural buoyancy, she brings her characters to life. There’s her bowel-obsessed mum who thinks constipation is value for money; her ex-PoW teacher who gives the sense that he preferred that to teaching; and the local sergeant who can actually type sarcastically.
Contemplative and witty, Kendall has that certain je ne sais quoi that is downright beguiling. In fact, such an effusive story-teller is the Australian native, that amidst the laughter, audible gasps and mutters of ”oh god” and ”oh no” pepper the room as the rippling effects of the lie unfold.
Interestingly, as in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Kendall regularly pauses the story to explain comedic techniques, just as Broderick breaks the fourth wall to explain his own technique and inner thoughts.
When the story arrives at its eventual conclusion, there is no doubt that we have laughed heartily at more than just couple of white lies – inevitably all part of Kendall’s charm.
It is though, she proclaims, smiling and wide-eyed, ”the gist of what happened.”