REVIEW: Sara Pascoe vs The Truth (NZ International Comedy Festival)

Sara Pascoe misses the mark.

Great Content, Shame about the Delivery [by Sharu Delilkan]

Sara Pascoe's delivery lacks punctuation.
Sara Pascoe’s delivery lacks punctuation.

There’s been great buzz around the traps about Londoner Sara Pascoe and although I tried not to, I was expecting a lot from this hot, feminist, vegan, sexually frustrated comedian.

As she admits from the start she’s “got it going on” and there’s certainly a shed-load of wonderful weirdness in her head i.e. very whacky and obscure thoughts were developed throughout the show, which promised to connect.

Her delivery was straight into it – unrelenting, confident and constant. A series of bizarre thoughts and/or delusions followed one another making us feeling like we were being shot with a constant stream of views akin to a machine gun, referencing religion, feminism, animals, reality and t-shirt philosophy. Yet her consistently unpunctuated style belied a highly eccentric and engaging Starship-at-Warp-speed-9 observational comedy, which should have gotten a better reception than Pascoe received tonight.

Her show Sara Pascoe vs The Truth has all the makings of a great hour of comedy. However despite pondering the show overnight I still feel that there was something missing. Yes it’s funny, yes she talks about interesting things, yes she even knows about philosophers and politics but “What is missing?” I keep asking myself. And I think the answer is pure and simple: I just didn’t buy into what she was saying. And the only reason I can think of is that she was on stage but we weren’t given a window into her soul.

In contrast to yesterday’s show where John Gordillo (See John Gordillo review) gave us the courtesy of taking us into his confidence – try as I may, I was unable to find that personal connection with Pascoe. But I have to admit there are no facts to back up this conjecture, just interpretations.

My harebrained theory is that maybe she was a bit too slick, too unceasing – Where were the awkward silences? The pauses for a ‘next joke thinking’ drink of water? The to and fro? Pascoe basically was talking at us rather than having a conversation with us, something we have come to expect with comedy shows.

Not to belabour the point but I really loved the material and tried so hard to empathise with the sadness of abandonment, of having a doppelgänger insecurities, the joy of mice and the freedom of being a nun. But alas her almost carefree style of delivery, sans crescendos and decrescendos, left me unconvinced.

Clearly Pascoe is a highly talented performer but there’s nothing wrong with an occasional pause to let the audience gather their thoughts and feel like the person in front of them is human, fallible and real.

Despite my attempts at comedy criticism, I have to admit this was definitely the densest show I’ve seen in a long time, with refreshing Python-esque disregard for any semblance of normality.

In short a highly polished and professional show tonight, but for me just not real enough.

Presented by Productions Ltd, Sara Pascoe vs Truth plays at Vault at Q until Fri 16 May and Rangatira, Q on Sat May 17. Details see NZ International Comedy Festival

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