tue 18/06/2024

Sara Pascoe, Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells review - motherhood and the perils of fame | reviews, news & interviews

Sara Pascoe, Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells review - motherhood and the perils of fame

Sara Pascoe, Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells review - motherhood and the perils of fame

The comic's most personal show to date

Sara Pascoe's show is like she's having a chat with the audienceRachel Sherlock

Sara Pascoe comes on stage to tell us there has been a small wardrobe malfunction. She's made an effort and is wearing something glitzy, but it restricts her movement in one direction and gives too much in another. Should she go and change into something comfortable but a bit grungy?

This confidence is typical of Pascoe's approach – it makes her sound like one of us and we're just having a chat – with the comic doing all the talking obviously. Much of the first half of Success Story is taken up with Pascoe, as she says, "Just me talking about myself" – about achieving a modest amount of fame, or what she calls being fame-adjacent – which leads to several amusing anecdotes about famous people she has met, including Sir Salman Rushdie, Jeremy Clarkson and Lily Allen, mentioning dad dancing, her dog's penis and sex toys. James Corden, you will no doubt be shocked to learn, comes across rather badly in her description of their meeting several years ago.

Pascoe always wanted to be on television, which led to her, a teenager being bullied at school, auditioning for an ITV talent show presented by Michael Barrymore called My Kind of People, which was recorded in a shopping centre each week. It was a humiliating failure, but still she persisted in pursuing a career in entertainment – where the "tax" on her job is the criticism that everyone shares freely on social media. It's feels more judgemental, she says, than what the means girls at school did.

In the second half the show shifts in gear and subject matter as Pascoe addresses becoming a mother after years of not expecting to, and the painful experience of going through IVF to conceive (happily, she now has a small son). She memorably describes the process of getting pregnant as “an application process for a job I never thought I wanted”.

Along the way she talks about pelvic scans, old-fashioned names coming back into fashion, how her mum has invented a one-sided celebrity feud, and the time she went to a coke-fuelled party at a famous comic's house, but feigned sleep.

It's Pascoe's much personal show to date and there's much to enjoy here, but a lot to frustrate too, as she hints at some areas that could be fruitful – how people become more conservative when they become parents, for instance. It's enjoyable but light fare. 

In the second half the show shifts gear


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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