One of the greatest traits of humankind is the ability to be self aware. In fact it is often thought to be one of the deciding factors separating us from animals. I only mention this as it’s amazing how many people have a total lack of self-awareness in their lives. One example of this can be found in Sarah Tattersall’s well written one-woman show Sally’s Alright presented as part of the Camden Fringe at the Etcetera Theatre.
Sally is a cleaner in a comedy club and one night, as she is sweeping the stage of strewn roses, she becomes distracted by a top hat on a hat-stand at the side. Her face lights up as she edges closer to it and as she reaches out and puts it on her head, a spotlight over a microphone comes on. Seeing this as a sign from somewhere, Sally walks over and tells her life-story to the invisible, but highly receptive audience.
Sally’s Alright is the story of a woman who has had an interesting life. However, she is continually re-writing her personal story as she goes through it to reflect what she believes in her head is happening. Sally is one of those who does not just see a silver lining in every cloud but can only see the lining, to her the cloud doesn’t exist. She is incredibly naive and seems to walk into situations with her eyes wide open while her brain is on another planet. Her perkiness and selfishness are potentially very irritating and yet at the same time, she has a lot of likeable qualities about her and I really was left hoping that she would come out okay eventually.
Sarah has written a wonderful piece in Sally’s Alright, with some very well observed moments that made Sally instantly recognisable as a person in her own right, and Sarah brings her to life beautifully so that she really is a believable character and the audience can be drawn into her world. Of the various tales Sally tells, my favourite was her final performance at the station which, I have to admit, I would have loved to have caught in real life. The only minor point is that it feels there is a gap in the narrative from the final story to how Sally ends up in the comedy club, and I bet there is a great tale around that just waiting to be told.
To sum up, Sally’s Alright is a lovely gentle tale that is extremely well written and performed. Somehow, I ended up caring about the character. The production was extremely enjoyable and reinforces my entire “There’s no need to go to Edinburgh” train of thought just now. More power to the Camden Fringe I say.
Review by Terry Eastham
Sally has done and seen it all. Now a cleaner in a comedy club, distracted by her boredom and delusions of fame, Sally is convinced that the empty stage is desperate for her grand debut. In this intimate, yet outlandish conversation, she exclusively reveals all about her life, love and loss to her fans. Whether they are asking, or even there at all, is another matter!
Above the Oxford Arms, 265 Camden High Street, London NW1 7BU
Thu 18 Aug 2016 Fri 19 Aug 2016 Sat 20 Aug 2016 Sun 21 Aug 2016