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Sarah Millican: Typical Woman - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Sarah Millican’s eager to please, opening doors to get some desperately-needed air into her sweltering venue, and peeling back her backdrop to get a draught going, even if it exposes the unglamorous reality behind the showbiz façade.

That’s not a bad analogy for her show, either, as she’s willing to pull back the curtain on some aspects of her own life as long as it makes others happy.

The theme for this follow-up to her newcomer-winning debut last year is male and female traits, that most primeval of stand-up topics. So shopping, porn, cakes, DIY, books about adding spice to relationships all feature – a set list as down-to-earth as the likeably open Geordie herself.

Much of what she had to say didn’t interest me all that much, I have to confess, although you have to admire the way she says it. But equally I have to come clean that I was in a tiny minority in a packed room laughing uproariously at her every sentence.

Her delivery is exemplary, with innate charm, great timing and compelling indiscretion – and the contrary ability to be both sweet and sour in the same sentence. Her banter with the audience, getting them to share their favourite things about being a man or woman, is quick-witted and amiable, making her generous good company.

She’s not afraid to get filthy, too, though that’s not he be-all and end-all of an act based on honesty, rather than any shock-for-shock’s sake visits south of the navel. Her soft Tyneside tones certainly cushion the blow, too, making offence impossible.

In discussing broad topics such as gender, you need oversimplification; but the best routines were about Millican being herself, not just a ‘typical woman’. The little rhyme she composed to herself to remember her car needed diesel, not petrol, is hilarious in exposing her own odd behaviour.

The show’s finding that not that anyone is typically male or typically female, but sits somewhere on the continuum, is plain enough – but she doesn’t half spend a lot of time reinforcing those stereotypes before dismissing them as bunkum.

Review date: 11 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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