Fringe Comedy

Sarah Keyworth


Five stars

Gary Meikle

Gilded Balloon, Rose Theatre

Two stars

How do you avoid clichés and stereotypes when writing a show about gender? Apparently you think like Sarah Keyworth. Her debut hour, Dark Horse is a beautifully-crafted and exciting thing. All angst and angles, she hunches over the mic in the style of an asthmatic 1970's social club MC. The material is fresh, razor-sharp and wonderfully off-kilter. There's a killer comparison as she explains the best bit about having a girlfriend and some serious neck-swivelling when footballer, Pavel Nedved is name-checked just minutes after kick-off. Ultimately, Keyworth's show is a journey of self-acceptance. At school, her perceived boyishness brought all the bullies to the yard. At university, she attempted to conform and lived the life of a heterosexual woman. Now working as a children's nanny, she's committed to ensuring that future generations aren't weighed down with the same expectations of what it means to be a woman. Powerful, poignant and achingly funny stuff.

Until August 26.

A single dad at 17 and a grandfather at 34, Glaswegian Gary Meikle has enough gripping autobiographical material to fill his debut hour several times over. It's therefore disappointing that he chooses to share the majority of it through the medium of 'bantz'. Meikle would be great fun on a night out. He's great fun on this one - he just doesn't need to resort to smut and stereotypes. Not all women crave bath bombs and Yankee candles and the bathroom story is definitely TMI. He shows potential and passion though with a wonderfully real and raw account of actively choosing a life in care over an unstable home environment. There's anger and craft too in his refusal to accept praise for parenting whilst deriding and shaming those who do walk away. If he can leave the laddishness behind, there's real potential.

Until August 26.

Gayle Anderson