Molly Stewart

Latitude Festival comedy review: Sarah Kendall

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Australian comic Sarah Kendall scooped up the Comedy Arena’s afternoon crowd with a goofy, shoulder-shrug of a set in the dense heat of Latitude Festival’s first full day.

A festival audience is an ideal audience for Kendall’s easy offerings. Her material is happily familiar, or at least her own (almost baked) attitude towards her anecdotes and musings makes it seem so. She isn’t your friend, maybe; but she’s someone with a theory to plant on you at a party.

Sarah Kendall’s adolescent tirades are more neatly clipped than they seem when she loses you in one: the unexplained [baby] shit on her shirt at an audition; a blindingly vigorous mime of her hand-job method – promptly followed by a slice of audience interaction that identified the ten year-olds in the front row. Audience interaction is something Kendall successfully manages to lock down while only rarely picking people out of the crowd: her delivery is seeking, almost defensive at times – often her routines have the effect of a ten-minute rhetorical question.

Kendall can step down to a basically apathetic acceptance and ramp it up to disgusted frowning and growling in the space of a single five minute routine, whatever the topic. That could be unnecessarily jumpy, but it’s with a blank and unapologetic  attitude that doesn’t serve to beg an audience’s approval; rather, it reels them in of their own accord, at no fault of Kendall’s.

What perhaps was a shame was her being housed in the Comedy Arena – Kendall’s comedy is so gleefully, intimately sulky (and farcical, in equal measures) that in such a cavernous tent the charm of her delivery gets a little bit lost. Despite that, Kendall’s inexplicably likable ‘screw you guys, you know you know what I’m talking about’ attitude preserves her humour; some energy in the space was maybe lost, but not her energy on stage.

Date of live review: Friday 17 July 2015 @ Henham Park, Suffolk.