Comedy review: Sarah Kendall: Paper Planes, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh

Sarah Kendall: Hard to concentrate on work when the news seems to get worse and worse. Picture: Rosalind Furlong
Sarah Kendall: Hard to concentrate on work when the news seems to get worse and worse. Picture: Rosalind Furlong
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Sarah Kendall has had writer’s block.

Sarah Kendall: Paper Planes, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh * * * *

The London-based Australian storyteller, known for her brilliantly funny and insightful shows, has been finding it hard to sleep.She has been scrolling the internet instead of getting on with her work. And although she does not go so far to say she’s depressed, she’s been struggling to find the joy in life.

The trouble is, she says, that her faith in the power of stories has been called into question. The rise of Donald Trump has made her doubt that actions have consequences.

And as the world hurtles toward environmental disaster, she finds it increasingly hard to tell her 11-year-old daughter stories that make sense of the world.

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Weaving together tales from Greek mythology and the account of a work trip to Los Angeles, Kendall takes her audience on a search for meaning in a world which is out of control.

She introduces us to her frightfully posh English literary agent, meets a Hollywood star and witnesses a spectacularly awful first night at the theatre.

But she also shows herself scrolling through news headlines on the toilet, watching disaster documentaries and obsessing about which is the safest place to sit on a plane.

Kendall has always been open about her emotional life but she seems more vulnerable than before and genuinely less able to find solace in structure, imagination and humour.

Her narrative is neatly divided into chapters, with headings, but this isn’t one of those stories where everything is neatly wrapped up and all the ends are tied together at the end.

Trump is still in the White House, the weather is still out of control and there is still a risk that planes will fall out of the sky. But Kendall does find cause for optimism in a very unlikely setting.

Until 25 August

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