Sara Pascoe – Lads, Lads, Lads at The Lowry Manchester Review

24-25 October 2018

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Reviewed by Kathryn Carr

Lads, Lads, Lads! Given that Sara Pascoe’s new show has had four star reviews from The Guardian, The Times and The Telegraph, I decided to head to The Lowry in Salford Quays to rate it myself. Sara earned herself half a star less and I’ll attempt in this write-up to justify why and why I’m sure from observing others’ reactions, plenty would have gone half a star the other way.

Sara’s oversharing style didn’t sit quite right with me. Strangely enough, had she been sat in the pub with me and my mates, it’s this very oversharing that would have had us all falling off our chairs with laughter. Nevertheless, Sara has a fantastic conversational style that immediately draws you in. Her delivery can be described as a little jittery and in some ways, this makes her appealing. Yet, at the same time her actual dialogue portrays her as this confident individual with no filter and the two don’t seem to tie.

Sara’s act is based largely on her own experiences, yet some seem so embellished they teeter on insincere. If she’d told tales of her boyfriend’s mum’s underwear, her yoga retreat experiences and dalliances with her personal trainer in a stripped back form, I’d have felt more comfortable and perhaps laughed a little more.

Sara clearly knows how to tell a good tale but she kind of ends up in ‘I’m going to use comedy to shock’ territory to get a laugh. Or not. Her interest in incest for example, seemed a tad gratuitous. Now that I’ve potentially ‘pruded’ myself up, I must add, that parts of Sara’s show spawned out of her recent relationship break-up are familiar, frank and darkly funny.

Sara refers to popular Channel Four show ‘First Dates’ to indulge in a deep-rooted feminist debate concerning some women’s expectations of men when it comes to settling up in a restaurant. As she embraces her return to single life, she uses the analogy, ‘We’re not Twixes, we’re Peparamis’. And like a Peperami, she’s a bit of an animal.

Sara’s monologues are engaging despite her frequently going off on a tangent and dipping in and out of stories. I liked going off-piste with her. It’s how most conversations with my girlfriends play out. Sara rarely lost track, however, there was one uncomfortable moment when she became distracted by an audience member in the front row who decided he repeatedly wanted to make conversation with his friend during her act. I really felt for her but at the same time, wished she’d made better use of the quick wit I’ve witnessed her display on Mock the Week and 8 out of 10 Cats.

Sara has used ‘Lads, lads, lads’ to find humour in heartbreak and there’ll be many regaled by the in-depth insights into her life. Others, like me, who love the stories but wouldn’t mind if she toned them down a touch.

Sara and I are both in our late thirties and after meeting her on-stage persona I almost feel like I should get to know the real-life Sara. Her material is so meaty (Sorry Sara, not the best choice of words for a vegan) that I want to hear more, just perhaps not the written for stage version; the real, naturally funny anecdotes that sit just behind it. One of my favourite parts of the show was her interlude to the interval where she remained on stage, explaining that she just wanted to watch us, to see what we were up to, what we were like. That’s kind of how I felt about her.

Sara is clearly a talented writer who puts her personal life in the spotlight to hone in on her craft. She’s definitely worth a watch. My discomfort is of course debatable, and I know there’ll be plenty who’ll argue it’s her upfront, awkward delivery that puts her up front of many other comedians.

Rating: 3.5/5

For more information about Sara Pascoe and to see her upcoming tour dates, visit www.sarapascoe.com/gigs.html.

Sara Pascoe – Lads, Lads, Lads is at The Lowry in Manchester from 24-25 October 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.

The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000


I watched Sara Pascoe at The Lowry Theatre, my second visit there in as many weeks. Last week, it was to see Tim Vine. The venue not only attracts top comedians, it hosts a diverse programme of theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music and visual art as well as events and activities.

The Lowry is one of my favourite North-West (and UK) venues. Easily accessible by car with reasonably priced parking on its doorstep, the theatre also has good local transport links. As ever, I was welcomed by friendly staff and made use of the reasonably priced bar before the show and during the interval.

I love going to watch performances in The Quays Theatre at The Lowry. Seating 440 people, it’s an intimate venue that allows you to feel part of the show.

For more information about The Lowry and to find out what’s on, visit www.thelowry.com

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