★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
A modern voice. A needed voice. A funny voice.
Perhaps more than other years, the toughest group of comedians performing at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe are the newcomers. Amongst them is Nottingham-born Sarah Keyworth, whose debut hour Dark Horse about gender expectations on women is the show the 2018 festival deserves and stands her out as one to watch.
Her debut hour does everything you'd expect it to do. It introduces us to Sarah as a comedian and gives us an insight into the type of character she is. She's the "L" in LGBTQ+ (just don't ask her what the other letters stand for), she's not the daughter of footballer Pavel Nedvěd and she decided to attend university as a straight woman... for a bit.
But aside from this and a couple other tales, this show isn't really about her. It's about Roly, a little girl from a wealthy family who she looks after. Outside of comedy, Sarah is a nanny to two children, Baxter and Roly and it's Roly who becomes the dark horse of this tale.
Through her own experiences, Sarah is able to spot moments in this young girl's life where she can help her. Moments where even at a young age, the gender expectations put upon Roly has lead her to social withdrawal. Sarah's there to tell her this little girl that she clearly cares a lot about, that she can when others say she can't.
Sarah's refreshing take on gender and sexuality as well as her effortless dead-pan delivery results in a charming, well-constructed hour that's heartwarming, relevant and very funny.
She has a modern voice. A needed voice. A funny voice. And this might only be her debut hour, but she's already set the stakes very high for her follow-ups and I for one am already looking forward to what Sarah Keyworth delivers next Fringe.
Sarah Keyworth: Dark Horse runs until 26th August at 5:30pm at The Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker Two). Book tickets here.
(This review was based on the performance from Wednesday 15th August 2018)