Daddy's Girl. Leicester Comedy Festival, February 2017
Sarah Keyworth is endearing, relaxed and quite obviously filled with a natural talent for writing and delivering funny stuff. With a charming level of self-effacement she does a good job of entertaining her easy-to-please festival audience with a combination of new material and previously-aired content. Luckily for her it seems nobody had seen her previous show so didn't notice that this was old material, still further did her luck hold out that seemingly nobody had read the programme notes describing her show so hadn't realised that what she delivered bore no resemblance to what we had been promised. Keyworth does acknowledge this issue very early on, but there is a whole debate about the difficulty a comedian has in having to come up with a title and description of a show that they haven't yet written in order to be included in a festival brochure, a debate that can not really be dismissed so lightly if she wants to be taken more seriously as a working comedian. This is a known difficulty that comes with the job, and the professionalism of those comics that deal with it effectively is noted.
Fair play to her though, although not billed as such she admits the show is a work in progress as well as bearing little connection to the title and as she hasn't charged anything at all for a ticket it seems reasonable that she can do pretty much anything she wants with the hour. Or as it turned out, - forty minutes...
Part of her appeal is that she looks non-threatening, diminutive even, and therefore at first appears to be not the kind of powerful, charisma-laden force that can hold an audience in the palm of her hand. Truth be told she didn't quite achieve that on a cold Wednesday evening in February, but she showed all the signs of control and unflappability to suggest if she continues to hone her craft she could rise to much greater things. She overcame obstacles that would have thwarted a lesser-hearted comedian – an audience interaction ran dry and wasn't funny but she never broke stride, she was able to chat confidently and make the audience laugh while simultaneously scanning through her list of new material to try. However when a performer continually breaks the fourth wall by speaking to and referring to a friend (or in her case, her partner) seated at the back of the audience it changes the dynamic of the room, making it more homely and familiar but perhaps relaxing the audience a little too much. We were, after-all, there to be entertained, not befriended.
There is little doubt that a fully-rounded and rehearsed show from Sarah Keyworth would be well worth seeing so let us look forward to that day with eager anticipation. Herein lies the problem though. “Daddy's Girl” was promoted as a fully-rounded and rehearsed show and yet was an unashamedly patchy (though certainly not unreasonable) work in progress. How will anyone know when the real show is in town?