Date/TimeApril 3, 2012 - 7:00pm
Price$20.00 See below for more info.
In a time-honoured tradition, the most talented Australians always depart our fair shores to shine on bigger and brighter stages overseas. Stand up comedian Sarah Kendall was no different. She made a name for herself with her intelligent and thoughtful comedy. In 2001 she tackled the sombre topic of military battle with her sophisticated wit in War. The following year, she presented Well Balanced, which also saw her win the Herald Angel award in Edinburgh. More shows, coupled with television appearances followed, but love and the more lucrative comedy circuit in the UK lured this Novocastrian away, with her last performance on Australian soil being back in 2004.
She makes a welcome return to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year with her new show ‘Persona’. Now married to the man she left Australia for and mother to their two year old daughter, in her absence Kendall has continued to make appearances at international festivals, collecting rave reviews and appearing on British radio and TV. Her most recent television work was all-female sketch show, Beehive, before falling pregnant and taking a break from live work. “I sort of took about three years out and it wasn’t by design. It was just after doing a (TV) show and then doing the whole motherhood thing, I suddenly realised I hadn’t done stand up for about three years,” she states from a hotel room in Sydney, where she’s been filming a couple of episodes for The Chaser’s new panel game show.
“I’ve really enjoyed coming back to stand up,” she says of her return to the stage six months ago. “I feel like I’ve got a much fresher perspective on it. I feel slightly like a different person, which is good because you do run the risk of stagnating and doing the same kind of stuff. Taking time out and doing some TV and having a family, I do feel like it’s really invigorated me,” she says.
It’s also changed what she wants to talk about. She’s been working on brand new material recently, not only to work up the content of Persona, which has been further honed in Adelaide and Brisbane ahead of this festival, but also because “my old jokes just felt wrong”. Feeling like she was performing someone else’s material, she ditched the lot and started again.
For Kendall, more than ever before, she wants her shows to mean something.
“I can't just be cracking jokes. Its gotta mean something to me personally so I think this is the first time I’ve probably been a lot more blatant in my politics,” she says. And so far, audiences have embraced it, much to her relief. “I’m so pleasantly surprised by how it really does strike a chord,” she says. “The stuff has an immediacy about it because I don’t have the time (anymore) to spend three hours in the middle of the day wondering about sharks flying through the air or more abstract concepts. I think I might be slightly more tethered to the real world now”.
BY JOANNE BROOKFIELD
Sarah Kendall performs Persona at Victoria Hotel, Lt Collins St from Thursday March 29 until Sunday April 22 at 7.15pm (6.15pm Sunday). Tickets $29 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, $24 Wednesdays and Thursdays, $20 Tightarse Tuesdays from Ticketmaster online, 1300 660 013 and at the door.
Comedy Festival website