Comedy review: Sara Pascoe vs History

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As The Stand comedy club celebrates its third birthday, Living North drops in to catch Sara Pascoe’s new show
‘She’s very self-aware. And honest. And revealing. Her stage presence is fantastic’

These are some of the comedians who’ve appeared at The Stand comedy club since it opened: Sarah Millican, Stewart Lee, Dylan Moran, Al Murray, Robin Ince and Frankie Boyle. Not a bad line-up. This month the Newcastle club is celebrating its third birthday, and last night Living North crashed the party to see rising star Sara Pascoe’s new show. 

You might recognise Sara. She’s been on television a lot recently, including QI (which she mentions in her act, wondering why parents tell her she should have a baby, seeing as she doesn’t go around telling them they should go on QI), Mock The Week, Twenty Twelve, W1A, The Thick of It and Live At The Apollo. So there’s a lot of buzz around her.

The 33-year-old only made her stand-up debut in 2008, but already she’s been commissioned for a pilot by BBC Radio 4, and her latest stand-up show, Sara Pascoe vs History, was nominated for the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award. She’s now touring the UK with that show (it’s her first ever tour), and last night she stopped in Newcastle.

She’s superb on stage: she started by telling the audience that the night isn’t about them, it’s about her; she says she won’t ask anyone where they’re from or what their cat’s funny name is. It’s a good way of disarming deluded ‘contributors’, and it gets the audience engaged, indicating she’s got something to say and won’t welcome distractions.

She covers a lot of topics, much of it only tenuously linked to history. One big subject is what it’s like to be a woman – how a lot of people were given the wrong impression about being a woman, whether in Victorian times or in her own childhood. It sounds unappealing described like that, but she makes it very funny, inclusive, sharp and original. 

She’s very self-aware. And honest. And revealing. Her stage presence is fantastic. She’s quite Russell Brand in some of her diction and mannerisms. She’s also very effective at weaving personal material into shared experiences, then weaving that into point-making (while getting laughs) – a foundation which suggests she could become one of the greats.

If you haven’t been to The Stand, you should go. It’s a completely different experience to seeing a comedian in a theatre or at an arena – it’s much more intimate, much more fulfilling and far more memorable. The Stand is a tremendous addition to North East culture, not least for providing the North East with a great club to attract acts like Sara. 

You can follow sara on Twitter @sarapascoe. To book tickets for shows at The Stand go to www.thestand.co.uk

The Stand, 31 High Bridge, Newcastle

Published in: November 2014

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