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Sara Pascoe: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Marissa Burgess

There are still shades of the slightly gauche teen in  31-year-old Saraa Pascoe – but in a hip way. It's a manner suited to the telling of the story of her adolescence; a wry and quirky look back at those difficult years and the perceptions of the 'ideal woman' crap that informs it.

This is Pascoe's third Edinburgh show and this time around she's gone for the musical form. But only occasionally does she picks up her guitar or break out into song. In fact it's almost an ironic musical, though rest assured her voice is a pleasing one.

Through this mixture of song and storytelling Pascoe evocatively relates her adolescence growing up in Essex, a bit of an outsider, a militant vegetarian and with a thought-through feminist attitude that serves her well. There's plenty of humorous nostalgic vignettes: Pascoe's mother announcing the end of her girlhood to the woman on the till in Tesco as they buy her first tampons and a powerful depiction of the all-consuming suffocation of experiencing your first love affair with a bit of twat at the age of sixteen. It’s story that also includes a nice Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes analogy, which is one to watch out for.

When she's not falling for psychopaths then it's the ultimate unattainable guy, the gay fella, whether they be piano players at Theatre Box drama club or a fellow holiday rep on Lanzarote.

It's an intelligent and informed hour; though Pascoe’s observations on women in Western society being largely judged on their looks rather than their merits are nothing new to anyone who reads a broadsheet, even if Pascoe's take on it is an entertaining and kooky one.  A look at ice cream advertising results in a nice deconstruction of lazy marketing towards a stereotypical perception of women.

The aforementioned anecdote about starting her period is preceded by a disclaimer about the 'quota' of menstruation jokes allowed by female comedians, and she rounds off the feminist material with a great routine where Grand Theft Auto meets that dodgy walk home from the night-bus stop, vulnerable to the threat of predatory males waiting in bushes, an image that is drummed into most women's heads to the point of paranoia from an early age.

The girls at Pascoe's school obviously didn't know cool when they saw it.

Review date: 12 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess
Reviewed at: Assembly George Square

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