Don't Worry Guys It's Sarah Campbell

Sat 2nd – Sat 23rd August 2014

reviews

Millie Morris

at 02:18 on 7th Aug 2014

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A petite, effervescent woman boldly addresses her nearly-full-to-the-brim audience as 'OAPs, lesbians and children' in the darkened underground Cabaret Voltaire (or 'hipster sex dungeon', as she puts it), setting the tone for a show that makes a mockery of both its leading lady and her company. This fizzing, fiercely self-deprecating performance is witty, wild and packs a perfect punch with its apparently heterogeneous audience.

Stand-up is a brave venture, and a difficult one at that. Sarah Campbell makes no claim to being a notable figure within the comedic sphere: referencing the amateur nature of her self-introduction, 'desk lamp' lighting and lack of proper job, Campbell's humility is weaved throughout the show's scornful material -- and it is a hit. Consuming the stage and quivering in a way which I cannot tell is nerves or excitement, she has near-to-excellent comic timing; improvised quips are successful, and she holds the audience in the palm of her wildly gesticulating hand.

To say that the premise of Campbell's show is pessimistic would be putting it lightly, and the inflated malice, or perhaps neurosis, which underpins the performance is a little biting at times. She sets out to comically illustrate the banality of life and question its unnecessary length. The quips flow so thick and fast it is difficult to tell whether Campbell is hamming up her minor frustrations for hilarity factor, or is a genuinely scornful person. Nonetheless, her satirical take on the Guardian's 'Do Something' section, from its rebranded everyday activities (the 'green gym' is the park) to more obscure DIY concepts deserves a giggle, alongside her justification of why the term 'cocksucker' actually holds positive connotations, which equally has me rolling in my seat.

A zealous, quick-fire performance from what deserves to be a rising star, this one-woman-show is well worth the trip down to the free Fringe: for a chuckle and a cynical yet comic re-evaluation of life, you'll be far from worried by what Campbell delivers.

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Serena Gosling

at 11:34 on 7th Aug 2014

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Sarah Campbell’s stand-up show focuses on finding and presenting humour in life’s everyday anxieties. Ranging from worries such as how to act around your friend’s kids, not wanting to live forever and onto the apocalypse, she offers a whistle-stop tour of nagging anxieties from the mundane to the absurd.

Whilst parts of Campbell’s set, such as her sketch on being jealous of Facebook friends, elicited a good laugh from the audience, most of it was too try-hard. Indeed, much of her set, rather than being ‘witty’ seemed more like we were being subjected to a rant a someone might share with friends over coffee.

I could certainly relate to most of what she spoke about, like bus fares and 14-year-olds lasting 10 days at guitar lessons. Indeed, many of her observations on everyday worries had huge potential to be hilarious if well delivered. However, sadly most fell short of this, presented more as a series of musings rather than stand-up comedy building up to the punch lines.

Campbell also made the mistake of labouring her jokes, dragging out the punch line well after the audience had stopped laughing. She had a tendency to get carried away, as a result of which the show over-ran by 10 minutes. Maybe, by shortening her observations she would deliver a more fast-paced, polished and amusing performance.

Nevertheless, to give her credit, whilst the audience as a collective were not fully engaged throughout, a large number were in hysterics all the way through, especially the front row, who she singled out for attention. Therefore, it is probably fair to say that, whilst she may not be everyone’s cup of tea, she does have appeal. She also showed some great originality, with material such as ‘reverse William Tell’, where the apple was thrown at the crossbow, much to the audience’s delight. Her ability to interact with the audience also went down well, with many eager to participate. She also brought the set together well, bringing back in members of the audience and props used earlier in show.

Comedy is always an individual taste and this was no exception. As part of the Free Fringe this is definitely worth trying but don’t expect to be laughing hysterically throughout.

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