Pros: A well written script and excellent stagecraft from Sarah Tattersall.
Cons: An antiquated, noisy air-con that seemed to switch on and off at two minute intervals.
The Camden Fringe has always been in the shadow of its older, sexier brother up in Edinburgh. However, 2016 marks a significant turning point for the festival which can now boast quality acts in abundance. Solo performers are particularly strong this year with the wonderful Sarah Tattersall one of its greatest discoveries. Sally’s Alright is a glorious ramble through the life and loves of the titular character. The show begins with Sally, gainfully employed as a cleaner in a comedy club, strolling around an empty stage with a feather duster. Sarah’s appreciation of stagecraft immediately kicks in, flinching when she finds a live mic and grinning expectantly in the heat of a spotlight. This is Sally’s big chance, an open mic in an empty club; she can now tell her story to an appreciative imaginary audience.
So begins a series of monologues detailing a litany of failed romances and ill-judged career choices; which include ice lolly seller, political spin doctor and station announcer at a national rail facility. In between these low-lights, Sally also relates a short-lived stint as a media celebrity and a dubious manager acting as her personal representative. The narrative quickly jumps between various snapshots of Sally’s life, but still manages to pack nuggets of humour and insight into a compact 50 minute show. She also finds time to belt out a highly respectable cover of Judy Garland’s classic torch song Maybe This Time; I would have liked Sarah to add a couple more songs into the piece as she can certainly sing. However, the real tour de force is, without doubt, Sally’s stint as a station announcer. Although the gag is familiar, I’ve never seen it executed with such exquisite timing. Sally, depressed by her relationship breaking up, grabs another microphone as an instrument of catharsis. This one belongs to the station announcer, where the officious tone soon descends into a bitter indictment of her ex; all brilliantly done.
The venue is located over the Oxford Arms, a lovely pub in Camden Town that has a cute beer garden and Gaelic football memorabilia on the walls. The theatre itself is cosy and well equipped with padded bench seats. The only downside is an air-con machine behind the audience that whirrs into action at frequent intervals, followed by a noise similar to someone sucking the dregs of a drink through a straw. That aside, Sarah Tattersall displays real ability as a performer/writer, and can only go from strength to strength. She is articulate, likeable and photogenic. A routine of this type may appear tailor made for the fringe/pub circuit, but it feels like there is enough here to turn Sally’s Alright into a TV sitcom. She is definitely one to watch.
Written and Performed by: Sarah Tattersall
Producer: The Camden Fringe
Box Office: 020 7407 0234
Booking link: https://cam.tickets.red61.com/performances.php?eventId
Booking until: 21 August 2016