24th July 2015 – Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol. Sarah Kendall: A Day in October; John Robins: Speakeasy

After a day of mooching around Bristol’s charity and independent shops avoiding the incessant rain (it didn’t stop all day; it was just a matter of intensity) we were back at The Tobacco Factory for two more Edinburgh previews; this time it was Sarah Kendall and John Robins who were to be our evening’s entertainment.

Sarah Kendall can be credited as the one act that got us into the comedy craze more than four years ago when we saw her at a late show in the basement of the Soho Theatre around Hallowe’en. Sarah was hosting the show with several comedians in the line-up, including Cariad Lloyd, Max and Ivan and Tony Law. These grand talents of the comedy world were only doing about ten minutes each but what a ten minutes they were … we had seen professional, live comedy, and we were totally hooked.

Sarah was on first, and her show, A Day in October, was for me, the best piece of storytelling I’ve heard in a very long time. This quintessential “coming of age” tale tells of her life back in high school in Australia; where peer pressure is everything, keeping your head down and trying not to stand out is standard, and having to hide it when you’re friends with the guy who is even further down the pecking order than you is a must. Mix in a terrible accident and the rest is for Sarah to tell.

I’ve never seen Kendall so good, and there’s a twist in this poignant tale that pulls the story up to another level. I can definitely recommend this one. Sarah is at the Assembly George Square Studios, venue 17, at 6.45pm. 

We had to award severe minus points to the audience member (a woman) who chose the last few seconds of Sarah’s story to walk across in front of the stage to go the loo. The worst timing ever.

Next up was John Robins with his preview Speakeasy. Now happily in a relationship, John has plenty of observations on that to tell us, including what happens when your girlfriend has access to your Internet search history (quelle horreur!). John is another favourite with us – almost everything he says gets a good response from the punters – and he’s an expert at judging a room.

John is also at the Assembly George Square Studios, 8pm.

Two more extremely good previews – and along with the previous night’s great shows – we really loved the level of comedy that the Tobacco Factory is presenting. We’d never been to this venue before these two nights, and from what we have seen, we will definitely be back!


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