Edinburgh Festival review – Sarah Millican

The third show from Geordie comic Sarah Millican is a powerhouse hour of stand-up with impeccable delivery, writes Paul Fleckney.

sarah_millican1Sarah Millican was crowned best newcomer in 2008, and her 2010 show, Chatterbox, is at least as good as that, certainly good enough have a shot at the main award.

Her delivery is supreme; she has the ability to extract the maximum amount of impact from every punchline – and they come thick and fast. The Stand audience is therefore at her mercy. You suspect that a large majority of them are already Millican fans – Stand crowds tend not to just stumble drunkenly into any old show – but even so, this is a powerful display of stand-up.

As ever Millican gives us warts-and-all portrayals of home life, womanhood, romance and sex. Sometimes it’s pithy, sometimes it’s punchy, often it’s naughty, and it’s always brutally honest and liberally scattered with ‘pet’ and ‘champion’ in her colloquial, relaxed manner. On which point, don’t read too much into the title, it’s not a theme that resonates throughout the show.

Chatterbox is packed with comedy gold: her routines on living alone, Skype and giving blood are wickedly funny with memorable lines that will have been recalled with glee over post-show drinks. She continually takes a seemingly mundane observational topic – the giving blood routine is a good example – and takes it in a completely different direction (or at least in the direction of sweet products). But it’s the delivery and timing that really elevates; there’ll be comics across the land who wish they could perform like Millican.

Oddly enough, if there was any sort of (relative) dip it came towards the end rather than the traditional middle, as a routine on children’s clothes doesn’t quite hit home, but some serious momentum has been built up by then. This is nonetheless a straight-up, gimmick-free, powerhouse hour of stand-up comedy, from a comic who ought to be an even bigger name than she is.

Five stars
Sarah Millican – Chatterbox is on at 8.20pm at the Stand Comedy Club, click here for booking.

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