Sarah Keyworth charms at the Komedia

Posted On 20 Feb 2020 at 9:35 pm

Since first performing stand-up at university, Sarah has fast become one of comedy’s brightest talents. Having already been a Funny Women runner-up, 2018 saw Sarah take her debut hour, Dark Horse, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A thoughtful and hilarious meditation on gender, girlhood and the challenges of growing up different, the show was a huge critical hit, receiving four and five star reviews from The Herald, Telegraph, Scotsman and many more. The show also received a Herald Angel Award, a Pleasance Theatre Award and a nomination for Best Newcomer in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

After her run, Sarah took Dark Horse on tour around the UK (including a sold-out run at Soho Theatre) and then to Australia, where she was invited to perform the show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, again to widespread critical acclaim. While in Australia, she also performed stand-up on ABC as part of the prestigious Melbourne Comedy Festival Opening Night Gala.

Sarah’s UK broadcasting career is also firmly on the up. She has appeared on Comedy Central UK’s Roast Battle, ITV2’s Stand Up Sketch Show, performed stand-up on BBC Radio 4 institution The Now Show, and has a number of her own TV and audio ideas in development with a range of production companies and broadcasters.

Her show tonight was in the intimate Studio Bar at the Komedia. She performed her own support slot herself. First impression is that she is very likeable, very pleasant. I felt very comfortable with her despite being on the front row which is always the dangerous spot for comedians. She told some nice jokes and stories. A good one about if lesbians had a signature dish it would be fish fingers and filled the night with jokes about related matters!

She spoke to some of the audience members but without leaving viewers scared as often happens with comedic events. She told how she gets mistaken for a young boy now that she has recently had her hair cut short. It was nice that she said she liked being in Brighton because when she got off the train she felt like she was welcomed to the city by loads of people who look like her.

I did feel sorry for her because she complained about having a bad back and I wanted to tell her that she had very bad posture but actually later in the show she said that one of the things people always tell her is to stand up straight – so glad I didn’t.

The second half was more of a structured performance with a theme running through it although she had already introduced it in the first part. The theme was that she wanted to be stronger and to be able to protect her girlfriend like a big, strong man could. This is clearly a false assumption and I felt that this crowd already knew that but, as is the trope, she expanded on it and told some stories that were fun and a few good laughs along the way to eventually reveal the assumption was false – so no real surprise there.

That is how it is supposed to work to set up a false analogy only to crash it down in a blinding realization of the truth. Unfortunately it wasn’t really a revelation and so made for a weak ending. The final joke wasn’t that strong either. Shame really as it was good a subject matter all about the meaning of gender.

The content was amusing and told in an engaging way and you couldn’t help but like Sarah. In fact I wanted to engage with her about all the issues she was raising as it was so interesting and I could just imagine having a good old chat with her. So a very enjoyable show but I just feel she didn’t quite nail the message. In fact she could have laid off the messaging a little bit and concentrated on the gags more.

She certainly has good comic skill. I would watch her again and look forward to seeing her hone her material into a more holistic performance in future shows that I hope she goes on to write.

Good luck Sarah and thanks for a lovely evening in your charming company.

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