Sara Pascoe‘s latest show, LadsLadsLads, was unapologetically about the aftermath of a break-up. Originally performed at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe, where Pascoe and John Robins both delivered their own shows about the break-up of their relationship, it was much more personal than previous outings but hugely enjoyable, showcasing all of the elements which have made her voice so distinctive – intelligent, often dark, and very open.
There was an intimacy and candidness about LadsLadsLads which was quite a rare feat in a theatre of this size – covering topics such as relationships, sex and family, Pascoe revealed aspects of her life and flaws with a level of vulnerability which isn’t all that common even in stand-up, and imbued these vignettes with layers of great jokes which peeked out of the darkness.
One story which was central to the show was about how the end of that relationship led to Pascoe going on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, bringing other members of the group to life through masterful comic storytelling, but the focus was always largely on herself – she repeatedly stated that she doesn’t want to be mean about people, or intend to, and while she sometimes came across that way in drawing the other characters from this period of her life (despite the protestations, the frequent contradiction was incredibly funny), the harshest criticism was almost always directed inward. That Pascoe, in over-sharing mode even by stand-up standards, built such a rapport with the audience during the course of the show was a mark of her control and craft on stage.
LadsLadsLads continued Pascoe’s rich seam of using sharp, smart comedy to discuss intelligent and challenging ideas, but with a much more introspective bent than previous shows. Different from their overtly philosophical subject matter, it was nevertheless a triumph – universal, relatable and with great humour, and for anyone who wasn’t already won over, underlined Pascoe as a prominent, vital comic voice.