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Sarah Millican, Touring | reviews, news & interviews

Sarah Millican, Touring

Sarah Millican, Touring

An unhurried masterclass from a comic in her prime

Sarah Millican's material may be considered blokey, but she makes it chatty and intimate, too

In an age when comics are doing shows with theatrical content or presented with a degree of technological sophistication, and they appear on stage expensively coiffed and suited, it's refreshing to spend an evening in Sarah Millican's company, whose show at times feels like we're having a chat over the garden wall. It's also pleasing that someone who just a few years ago was a jobbing club comic is now enjoying the sort of success her talent so richly deserves. I saw her latest show, Thoroughly Modern Millican, at the huge Hammersmith Apollo but I suspect that arena gigs can't be far behind, and she is shortly to record a series for BBC Two.

Millican first came to prominence at the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe when she deservedly won the Best Newcomer Edinburgh Comedy Award, and was nominated for the main award last year. With material that rarely moves beyond the domestic and never strays into political territory, Millican has found a rich seam of comedy that, with high sexual content, may be considered blokey but yet manages to be chatty and intimate, too.

Her act consists of her standing at the microphone and telling us stories about her life – no rushing about the stage for her. If she did, I'm sure she'd tell us she needed a quick lie-down and refreshing brew; the cup would be polished with a fresh tea towel, which Millican assures us is one of life's great pleasures - one of the acutely observed little touches in a show that appears to be homely non sequiturs, but is in fact a very intelligently constructed performance.

She is the master of the slow reveal and her timing is superb. Thoroughly Modern Millican is less gag-heavy than previous shows, but it's no less laugh-filled or life-affirming

Millican talks about love, her boyfriend, her mam and dad, the joys of a carvery meal, and an awful lot about sex. It's unremittingly saucy, but rarely crude. Even the swearing – and there's a lot of that, too – is appealing. She likes swearing she says, and anyone who doesn't like it “can fuck off” which, when said in her rich South Shields accent, sounds strangely less threatening than it ought, but somehow funnier, too.

Millican also likes to chat to the audience, as when she asks what is the strangest thing they have used to wipe their bum when the loo roll has run out, or how they know they are in love, or how their parents explained the death of a pet. The first question brings the response “Panty liner!” and Millican points out that that's her one period joke, and it isn't even hers. And when she mentions in passing being a size 16, she makes it clear she's happy about it – stand-up comedy is absolutely not therapy for Millican, although she is deliciously quick to capitalise on a shout of “I love you” from a bloke in the audience. She asks him to repeat what he had just said. “I heard it the first time,” she says. “I'm just really needy.”

She is the master of the slow reveal and her timing is superb. Thoroughly Modern Millican is less gag-heavy than previous shows, but it's no less laugh-filled or life-affirming, and equally full of affectionate insights into the human condition – such as when she explains how love begins and ends with a funny feeling in the tummy, from butterflies to churning. So when she tells a joke about some women being too unattractive to be sexually assaulted it not only jars heavily, but seems curiously misjudged from a comic in her prime.

  • Sarah Millican is touring until 2 May, 2012
When she mentions in passing being a size 16, she makes it clear she's happy about it – stand-up comedy is absolutely not therapy for Millican

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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