Sarah Keyworth: Dark Horse

Every year at the Fringe, I find a new favourite comedian. Past examples have included Suzi Ruffell, Eleanor Morton, and Sarah Kendall. This year’s strongest contender to that title may be Sarah Keyworth.

In this hour of material about gender, and a sense of one’s self, you would struggle to find a routine that fails to be cleverly incisive but brilliantly funny. Whilst this Fringe has heard a lot of material about things such as unisex toilets, or awkward  family events, rarely have I heard such a unique viewpoint on such things, and the comic timing and delivery of the performer is never at fault. Keyworth performs with an almost sinister gait, yet manages to be so thoroughly likeable that from the off you are taken fully on board with her train of thought.

However, where this hour truly comes alive is in the material gleaned from Keyworth’s day job as a nanny for two frightfully posh young children. Every line is so masterfully crafted, and the geniune joy these children seem to give Keyworth is fully on show, in what becomes a wonderfully immersive section of the show. Whilst ‘funny things children say’ may feel a little hack or cliché in other performer’s hands, here it is effortlessly original, and you leave the show feeling that one of the two, Rolly, may be your new hero. Particularly in her attempts to parlay strong messages about gender and self worth to the child, Keyworth manages to take huge and complex ideas, and condense them into something that is both amusing and perfectly formed. This all leads to a series of callbacks that bring the show together in great fashion.

So whilst this show may not have much in terms of narrative, the theme and strength of material are always on display, and this was one of the easiest shows to sit through that I have seen this year. Sarah Keyworth is a Dark Horse well worth taking a punt on, and you might just find yourself with a new favourite comic.


Dark Horse runs until the 26th of August –

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Scott Redmond

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