Thursday 08th December

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Sarah Kendall: One-Seventeen review


Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer and Reviewer

Kendall’s journey through time and space leaves you laughing and moved in her most personal work to date.

The last time I saw Sarah Kendall perform live was at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, where she delivered Shaken – one of three powerful tales to formed her subsequent hit BBC Radio 4 Australian Trilogy series.  But while impressed by her engaging storytelling, I felt her brusqueness – exacerbated by the boisterous weekend Edinburgh crowd – lessened the impact of her message.

Two years on, that criticism can no longer be levelled.  Despite enduring a difficult time personally, Kendall’s become a much warmer performer, willing to share more personal material in new show One-Seventeen.

As with her previous work, One-Seventeen links the past with the present, but now there’s greater frankness when discussing the latter.  Kendall’s retained her no-nonsense delivery and caustic comedic tongue, but the more intimate moments – when she airs worries about motherhood and the fragility of life – draw the audience deeper into her narrative and help even the lower-brow punchlines to land (the best example being a playful twist to a story about a seemingly deluded grandmother).

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Category: Comedy
Mark Thomas 1 - PLEASE CREDIT Jane Hobson

Mark Thomas: “I’m obsessed with how you break out of that individualistic stand-up model and involve people.”

Mark Thomas has returned to London with A Show That Gambles on the Future, exploring people’s hopes and fears for the coming years.  The show, which varies dramatically from night to night, is an interesting departure from his recent scripted performances but has injected Thomas with enthusiasm for unpredictability.  Ahead of the run at Leicester Square Theatre until 28th October, he spoke to Ian Cater about stand-up comedy’s limitations, getting laughed at Up North and the price of Freddo Frog chocolate bars. 

If we learnt anything from last year, it’s that making predictions is a mug’s game.  Unless you get them right of course, which – despite the off-target examples of Michael Fish, Kaiser Chiefs and Dick Advocaat – people do manage from time to time.  And that’s what Mark Thomas is asking his audiences to attempt in A Show That Gambles on the Future.

Each night, Thomas asks attendees to write down some forecasts, the best of which he riffs on at length and opens up to general discussion.  At the end of the show, the audience gets to choose which prediction Thomas should bet on at the bookies, with all winnings going to charity.

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Category: Comedy
MARK THOMAS 1 - Please credit Tracey Moberley

Mark Thomas: “You’re constantly climbing a ladder, but the last rung you always pull away from yourself”


Mark Thomas is performing his latest highly-acclaimed show – The Red Shed – at Battersea Arts Centre until Saturday night.  It is an incredible piece of work, perfectly blending comedy, theatre and journalism while provoking laughter, emotion and thought.  Ahead of his return to London, Ian Cater caught up with Thomas to discuss audience participation, lost sheep and David Walliams.

London audiences have four more chances to experience The Red Shed – a homage to the Wakefield Labour Club where Mark Thomas first ‘found his politics’ and became involved in the 1984 Miners’ Strike.  And, no matter what your political persuasion, I can hardly recommend this amazing production enough.

It’s neither pure comedy, nor pure theatre.  Instead, The Red Shed is a masterful lesson in storytelling – an art in which Thomas undoubtedly specialises.

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Category: Comedy

Isy Suttie: The Actual Book Tour, 15th – 27th August at Soho Theatre

Former Peep Show star Isy Suttie is back with a new live show, The Actual Book Tour, which warmly and hilariously discusses her journey towards finding the right man and finally – if a little reluctantly – becoming an adult.  Ahead of its 12-night run at Soho Theatre starting on 15th August, she caught up with Ian Cater to discuss parenthood, internet dating, giant penguins and ball pits.

On Monday, Isy Suttie starts the next leg of The Actual Book Tour with the show – coinciding with the publication of her first book, The Actual One – already receiving gushing reviews for understandable reasons.

Suttie’s an extremely talented, funny and versatile performer, first coming to fame as Dobby in Series 5 to 9 of seminal sitcom Peep Show.  In the show, she showcases many of these talents, intertwining songs, stand-up and book readings documenting her awkward journey on the way to finding Mr Right.

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Category: Comedy