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sarah kendall press 2014

Sarah Kendall – Touchdown review

Pleasance Courtyard

By Ben Williams
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Comedians are liars. We don’t want to believe it, but deep down we all know that those funny-things-that-happened-on-the-way-to-the-gig probably didn’t happen on the way to the gig. Or today. Or at all.

Sarah Kendall comes clean at the start of ‘Touchdown’. She admits she embellishes tales for comedic effect. The Aussie comic’s previous show ended with a cheeky tale about calling her high school rugby coach ‘the king of cunts’. But her quick-witted comeback wasn’t exactly how it played out, she now confesses.

And so begins a grand storytelling show detailing the true events behind that teenage anecdote. The New South Wales-born comic vividly describes her goofy high school years, particularly her friendship with Abi, a popular, athletic girl and daughter of the aforementioned coach. Kendall delicately recalls her teenage feelings, when minor frustrations and annoyances seemed like big, world-changing events. So when the story takes a more serious turn, you can believe that her adolescent self felt helpless and alone.

Not that ‘Touchdown’ is a sombre story. Kendall makes sure it’s big on laughs, cramming her tale with understated jokes. She caricatures her school teacher as a burpy Neil Diamond fan and her mother has a squawky woman talking almost exclusively in ’80s slang, which veers a little from the comic’s promise to be truthful, but does provide some of the show’s funniest moments.

Kendall gradually invests our interest in her characters, so that by the time the tale becomes too serious to be undermined by pithy jokes the audience is hooked and the lack of laughs is barely noticeable. She’s a skilful storyteller and ‘Touchdown’ is a touching tale that’s emotive but never overly so. For Kendall, at least, it seems honesty is a best policy.

‘Sarah Kendall – Touchdown’ is at the Pleasance Courtyard, 9.30pm

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