What a year it has been for Sarah Millican.
She has been nominated for the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award, has recorded a DVD and has enjoyed a series of radio and television credits including an appearance on The Apprentice: You're Fired (in which she left Kelvin MacKenzie helpless in the face of her wit) and a semi-regular slot on Loose Women. Millican also has her own show in development, with Graham Norton's So Television.
It is all well deserved, after last year's watertight Edinburgh show. This year she is back with another solid effort to fill the 750-seater Assembly Hall, not the biggest venue she will ever play but an obvious rise up the Fringe pecking order.
The 36-year old arrives on stage to some rather dramatic, X-Factor-esque music. This is incongruous, given her style, which is friendly, inquisitive, conspiratorial and not showbizzy in the least. Millican quickly sets about making us privy to the intimate secrets of her domestic life while asking us for some of our secrets in return, such as any obsessive quirks we might have. One woman admits that she checks under her bed, ever since watching a particular episode of a crime drama. "What would you do if you found a man under your bed?" Millican asks, before relaying the reply: "You're a lesbian so you don't know?"
Comedy gold is struck. The theme that Millican then pursues, based on a childhood memory, is the idea that some people are go-getting bumper cars and others are more cautious dodgems. It's a less combative version of Jon Richardson's division of society into putters and leavers. "Exciting is when you start a new tea towel," says Millican, in the face of boasts from one of her more "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" friends.
Cleverly, Millican sneaks her theme in about halfway through, and is not obsessed about it ruling the show. Before she arrives at the point she has worked the audience over and found out what we think are the signs of falling in love. She suggests that a churning stomach tops and tails a relationship, as a feeling of anticipation that goes from joy to dread.
Clearly, much of what Millican says can be insightful and tender, but she can go straight for the jugular when she needs to. "I saw my boyfriend in a suit and I must admit I was a little bit turned on," she says. "I don't mind telling you. I think it was the prospect of a regular income."
In the end, Millican classes herself as a dodgem, which is hard to believe of someone who has such a bumper career ahead of her.
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