Sally-Anne Hayward: Cyril

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Sally-Anne Hayward says she’s trying a new storytelling approach to her stand-up this year – after all, she boasts, ‘I did a module in it’.

But as stories go, it’s very simplistic, being little more than a few nicely descriptive scenes and offhand put-downs that ends in a lame, contrived pay-off that would leave even Scooby-Doo fans feeling cheated.

The bittersweet tale concerns Cyril, an unattractive middle-aged stalker in the insular English village of Stow-Up-The-Crack, and his unrequited love for another of the grotesques who live there. The ever-charming Hayward’s good at conjuring up images of all the freakishly ugly oddballs, but she doesn’t do much with them once they’re here.

Her flimsy story probably only comprises 15 minutes of the show, anyway. Instead, she keeps digressing into overly-chatty stand-up about such unexciting topics as Facebook, macho men using ‘gay’ as an insult, and her previous relationships.

She’s animated with the audience, using her immense likeability to banter with people representing both the upper and lower end of the age scale, but it doesn’t help the hour feel any less lightweight.

There’s a sneaking suspicion that throughout the comedy world ‘storytelling’ is increasingly becoming code for ‘stand-up that isn’t funny enough’; and that certainly seems to be the case with Hayward. It’s a shame, because you can’t help but warm to her.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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