A measure of Sarah Millican’s skill as a comic is that she can capably perform crowd work in a venue as vast as Caird Hall, keeping more than 2,000 people engaged as she chats with an individual about the weirdest thing they’ve seen in nature.
Sarah Millican: Outsider | Caird Hall, Dundee | Rating ****
Unlike some stand-ups with her level of commercial success, she makes no apologies for being upwardly mobile and a significant portion of this show reflects on her and her husband’s relocation to the country. Their rural move has not been without its culture clashes and Millican presents herself as a naïve outsider, someone who would have been downstairs in Downton Abbey, now addressed as the “lady of the house”.
She determinedly retains her everywoman persona, sharing quirky details of their relationship, aspects of her physical, mental and sex life with seemingly little filter, her warm, conversational style punctuated by a consistently strong barrage of gags. Willing to share her vulnerabilities and often self-deprecating, she’s nevertheless steely too and earns plenty of laughs bluntly telling fools and charlatans to go forth and multiply.
It’s all very entertaining, and sets up a second half in which she explores her outsiderdom with deeper scrutiny and feeling, not least the body image issues bestowed upon her by women’s magazines and bullies of her teenage self. There’s a satisfying slap down of one of her tormentors, keen to reconnect now that Millican’s famous. But what truly impresses is the manner in which Millican never downplays but has adjusted to her neuroses, exploiting them to great comic effect.