Sarah Kendall Is Well Balanced

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

If you need evidence of the irrelevance of IQ tests, look no further

Sarah Kendall claims a score of just 82. Two points fewer, and she would have been officially classed as a retard.

Yet she has produced one of the brightest shows on the fringe, breezily intelligent and effortlessly funny, and all delivered with sparking style.

The show is nominally about mental health - but it barely scratches the surface. Instead it provides a loose collection of sharp observational comedy and winningly self-deprecating anecdotes.

This willowy Australian is cunningly manipulative - but in a good way, using her naturally chatty and charismatically open manner to take the audience exactly where she wants them.

That she can move seamlessly from talking of Annabel Chong "officially the biggest whore in the world" to tapestry is evidence, were it needed, of how comfortable she is with her wide-ranging material.

The phrase that peppers her show is "so I started reading up on it," a dedication to research that throws up plenty of original topics, with a string of strong gags to back them up.

Her uncle's mental health problems that provide the title for the show hint at some deeper and more sensitive comedy. He has autism and brain damage, and Kendall finds it easy to laugh at his outbursts - though others find it distasteful. This - and surely every - audience laugh, but guiltily.

At the heart of this section is the paradox that the insane don't know they are insane, so how can the rest of us be so sure of our own state of mind?

One way to work it out is to go and see Kendall's brilliant show, as you'd clearly be mad not to.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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