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Sara Pascoe Vs Her Ego

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

As a heavily-tipped rising star, there’s a buzz of anticipation surrounding quirky Sara Pascoe’s Edinburgh debut. But although there’s a distinctive wit running through the hour, her dryly aloof delivery and offbeat material doesn’t really soar. The result is a show that’s easy to admire, but harder to laugh at.

Pasco adopts a childish arrogance for her stage persona, idly boasting that she’s just so brilliant at everything. Yet her performance is far from celebratory, with her slightly dreary deadpan casting a melancholic gloom over proceedings.

She embarks on a series of journeys through her peculiar imagination, not always taking the audience with her. So he imagines relationships with long-dead Frenchmen, invents her own magazine-style questionnaire or suggests karmic pranks to play in the supermarket. Such routines, sometimes illustrated with short, stilted roleplays, often have a flick of The Boosh in the surrealist image she employs, but not enough to be wholly derivative.

Some of the routines are, indeed, noticeably more conventional: observations about food products that proudly boast they are ‘real’, discussing laddish sexual games – even rewriting the lyrics to a Lady Gaga song. You can’t get more mainstream than that.

However her unenthusiastic delivery makes some of this more of struggle than it need be, almost crushing fine, original jokes and inventive ideas under the desire to come across as remote, deluded and obsessive. Being a borderline bunny-boiler seems to be the de facto stance for so many female comedians, and Pascoe certainly adopts it in her unrequited love for Robbie Williams as well as the flawed fictional relationships she describes.

Her relationship with the audience is equally bumpy, never quite building up that essential trust that she’s funny, even though she’s often saying all the right things. It means the jury is still out on whether she can translate her idiosyncratic writing into a reliably funny hour.

Review date: 9 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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