She may be from South Shields, but I think we should welcome Sarah Millican in as one of Northampton’s adopted daughters, as her Bobby Dazzler show last night was the first of three that she will be performing at the Royal and Derngate (18th and 21st November shows still to come) as well as having had a couple of secret gigs in their Underground studio to hone the show into perfection as Work in Progress nights. Much more of this and she’ll be supporting the Cobblers and pronouncing Cogenhoe correctly.
She came on to do a little welcoming warm up before introducing her support act, Gearoid Farrelly. A name new to us, he’s a cheeky chap from the Emerald Isle, with a confiding style and ebullient personality, who spun some entertaining tales of seeing Shania Twain in Dublin (not to be recommended apparently, although primarily not because of Shania Twain) and how a gay man’s insecurities come to the fore when having to deal with a “real man” in a DIY store. Good delivery, heaps of confidence and he did a great job.
When Sarah Millican returned she encountered a bit of a problem – a loud, drunken woman in the upper boxes who had no compunction about constantly engaging in conversation with her. Not a heckle, nothing spiteful, but an absolute bloody nuisance. Several times she stopped Ms Millican in her flow and it really sapped the energy of the audience and made us feel uncomfortable. She wasn’t deterred by Sarah’s put-downs or admonitions, but, fortunately, she was eventually encouraged to sober up somewhere outside (preferably at home) – pity that didn’t happen sooner rather than later.
Once that was out of the way, it left Sarah Millican free rein to discuss all her favourite usual topics – the things that happen to a woman in her mid-40s, interaction (both domestic and romantic) with her husband, fondness for confectionary self-indulgence, and the confidence to be herself, which she transmits to the audience, boosting our self-confidence too.
There’s probably no other comic in the world who’s so comfortable discussing the most private aspects of the human body – especially the female of the species. We’ve all got bodies, we’ve all got bits and bobs of various shapes and sizes, and Sarah Millican has no inhibitions when it comes to using them as items of mirth. Not content with leaving it there, she lingers over the smells, textures and general misfunctions that flesh is undoubtedly heir to. As a result, her material reflects everyone’s experience, and the laughter she creates is that of personal recognition. No human condition is out of bounds, resulting in the laughter frequently extending into groans of delighted disgust and general ewww, while Ms Millican, her face a picture of innocence, waits for us to regain our composure.
The show is precisely scripted, with well-planned callbacks and deft use of mots justes, all apart from one section, where she invites the audience to share their moments of pandemic madness. One woman learned how to sew; another slung her husband out of the house. But my favourite was the man who chucked his job in as an operations director because after three and a half months he still didn’t understand what the job meant, and went back to his old job – as an operations manager. We also learned about Sarah Millican’s special and perhaps tongue-in-cheek involvement with the Couch to 5K App – and what it would be like to have yourself spur you on with faux-encouragement.
A hugely enjoyable comedy night out in a pair of the safest hands in the business. Sarah Millican’s tour continues right the way round to December 2022, would you believe, but I’d get in there quick with your booking if I were you!