Sara Pascoe – Edinburgh Fringe review

Sara Pascoe’s show about truth and reality is silly, subversive and opinionated (in a good way)

Sara Pascoe

It’s pretty annoying that Sara Pascoe’s main stand-up break so far has come from Stand Up For the Week. It’s like if Louis Theroux presented the Channel 5 60-Second News. She’s a unique comedian with depth and interesting things to say, and some delightful surprise lines along the way.

I have so many notes on this show … moreso than any other I’ve seen this Fringe. It’s packed with theories, philosophies and silly jokes – Pascoe always has been a master at colliding high- and low-culture references, and this show is that, writ large. How often do you see a comic wearing a Nietzsche T-shirt talking about Chantelle Houghton?

What I really liked was how this was a comedy show that was more about questions than answers; with most of those questions about truth, reality and perception. What does it mean that the Sugababes no longer has any original members in it (the philosopher’s axe for Heat magazine readers)? Is it ok to lie to someone with Alzheimer’s if it makes them happy? Has her boyfriend been having sex with her doppelganger? How much of this show is even real? All of which makes it a subversive comedy show, in my eyes.

It’s a very personal show too. Her mum crops up frequently, at one point wondering about the carb content of holy wafers, or using fear as a “cheap babysitter”. Pascoe’s own fears are to the fore as well, be they spiders (a joke that spins out intricately) or whether she is being watched by an old acquaintance via her cat.

Keeping the laughs coming is obviously the tricky bit as most comedy audiences don’t want grey areas and soft edges, and these are not easy subjects for comedy. But Pascoe will know all this and doesn’t appear to show any fears about being too ponderous for her audience, and is also pretty successful at keeping the laughs coming.

The question that doesn’t need asking is whether this, or the broad-brush SUFTW Pascoe, is the real one. She seems to have found the confidence to be herself and open up in this show, and it’s paid off. Suddenly, Pascoe’s career as a stand-up stretches out before her …

4 stars
Review written by Paul Fleckney
• Sara Pascoe vs the Truth is at 8pm at the Assembly George Square

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