Review – Sarah Millican, Outsider, Royal and Derngate, Northampton, 2nd July 2016

Sarah MillicanWe’re lucky enough to see a lot of comedy but it’s not often we go back to see big names a second time because once is generally enough to know whether you like them and whether they make you laugh. Of course, you might want to go back and see them again sometime in the future, just not too quickly – it keeps things varied and interesting that way. However, there are a few notable exceptions where we will always book to see their latest show: Dara O’Briain, Julian Clary, and now Sarah Millican.

Ms Millican commands the box office with a ferocious loyalty that I can’t see with any other comedian. Not only did I have to book those tickets over a year ago – 26th March 2015 to be exact – but demand for her performance has resulted in her doing three shows over three consecutive nights. That’s some demand. What is it about her that makes her so popular?

Sarah MShe’s tremendously funny, that’s what. From the moment she comes on stage till the moment she leaves, you’re aching with laughter. What I particularly like about her style is that you get the sense that everything she tells you is 100% true. She would be the most effective politician if she wanted, and you’d never need to vote her out because she would simply never lie. She also, bravely, shares fairly intimate personal details; from the reason why she never uses bath crystals to the catastrophic nature of her Irritable Bowel Syndrome farts. If you’re looking for someone demure and tasteful, you’ve probably come to the wrong place.

Unusually she started off the show by coming on, giving us about ten minutes of introductory hilarity, and then handing over to her warmup act. In a sense, that meant that she was acting as his warmup, which, when you think about it, is remarkably generous! As a result, we were well and truly warmed up already, which actually meant that we could really enjoy our twenty minutes with Geoff Norcott. Mr Norcott comes over as a truly affable bloke, with great comic observations about married life, teetering girls in high heels and the civil war between the old and the young. He gained an instant rapport with the audience and he went down extremely well.

Geoff NorcottSarah Millican is certainly enraptured by the animal kingdom and gets a lot of excellent comic material from stories about her pets. She extends the conversation to getting the audience to call out any great sights in nature that any of us had seen. This is obviously a device that works well, for when we last saw her she wanted our suggestions for what you would take with you for a dirty weekend. This time round, I’m not sure our audience was quite as much at one with nature as Ms Millican might have hoped, but at least one chap said he’d seen a squirrel eating a KitKat.

After the interval, we were treated to more ace routines including the sheer horror of undergoing one of those “relaxing” spa massages, which resonated loudly with Mrs Chrisparkle’s and my one-and-only experience of an expensive, side-by-side, relaxing full body massage which was one of the most stressful things we’ve ever endured. But the main element of the second half is the most superb example of revenge being a dish best served cold that you’ve ever heard. There’s nothing quite so sweet in life as that moment when you know you’ve got your own back on a bully. I’ll say no more – except that it’s toe-curlingly divine.

S MillicanAt the end you could collect your free badge – to add to your collection of Sarah Millican free badges. You could be a flower or a pet, depending on your personal assessment of how needy or otherwise you are. I chose to be a flower – but the queue to collect it was vast, so I will just continue to be a flower in my own mind’s eye. She had the entire full house in hysterics for the best part of two and a half hours. Mrs C was literally crying – and she doesn’t do that very often, at least over comedy. Sarah Millican’s tour continues right through to September but you have to be very quick to secure a ticket. She’s great though, so you really should!!

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