CW: Discussion of infertility and miscarriage.
In a cosy room, tucked away from the hustle-and-bustle of Pleasance Courtyard, Sara Barron delivers an hour of utterly unabashed comedy. A lively performer, she finds a brazen, unapologetic, humour in the tragic, funny and filthy recesses of life. Tackling head-on experiences of ageing, miscarriage, and the occasional joy in being the ‘bitchy one’, this is a hard-hitting but hilariously honest stand-up show.
Warming the audience with an age-old bit about being an American living in the UK, Barron nonetheless weaves in an energising host of originally witty observations. She then quickly shifts through the different expectations of men and women whilst ageing, before discussing how her twelve year-long relationship has morphed blowjobs into a form of admin-resistant currency in her household. Setting the tone for an incredibly open dive into her relationship with her husband, she then launches into a well-arranged set of anecdotes and incidents based loosely around themes of age, self-identity, and family.
With a viciously sharp wit, she describes the tedium of becoming friends with the parents of your children’s friends. Comically deriding “Helen”, she accurately depicts the fragile dance we do when working out if we’re the only ones to find someone really, quite annoying. Children, it turns out, are not that well equipped for picking friends for their parents. With an easy audience chemistry, she then turns to the audience as she discusses monogamy, hot dads, and long-term relationships. Quick witted in her responses, Barron’s energetic stage presence and natural charm guides her set through any awkward audience silences.
At the centre of her show, and indeed much of her on-stage persona, is, by Barron’s own admission, a distinctly “American energy”. Most evident in her tales about being an “entitled hypochondriac”, it is perhaps this energy that allows Barron to bypass the shackles of British shame and taboo, to instead discuss a series of medical, and bodily fluid related anecdotes with a raw honesty. From the hilarity of her anxious-husbands unwashed backside in an emergency hospital appointment, to the all-together more heart-breaking honesty of a miscarriage she went through in a cinema loo, Barron decisively tries to find humour in these moments. Claiming that, if she can laugh about it, then so can we.
Barron certainly has a compelling talent for storytelling. So, as long as you’re not too squeamish, this is certainly a show to watch for a dark, but deeply funny, hour of comedy.
Sara Barron: Hard Feeling is showing Upstairs at the Pleasance Courtyard from Aug 25-28 at 19:15.
Image credit: Matt Stronge, provided to The Student as press material.