Sarah Callaghan: The Pigeon Dying Under the Bush

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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sarah callaghan
Published 20 Aug 2017

After her tremendous 2015 breakthrough show, Sarah Callaghan has undergone a self-diagnosed quarter-life crisis, with the 25-year-old delivering a relentlessly downbeat hour that her sardonic bluntness and disconnected material doesn't come close to building into the lofty heights she only recently scaled.

Walking physically unscathed from a serious car crash last year, accompanying factors and her inclination to introspection have ensured the mental scars remain, even as comedy hasn't proved the lucrative career she might have hoped. Furiously, this authentic working-class performer decries those who've described her as a character act, as if she'd choose to be broke and in a dead-end relationship. Unhappily, the success of her comedy appears to be tied to her having a shit life.

Bemoaning the relentless, depressing nature of the news, she affects not to mention President Trump while keeping him as a recurring bogeyman in the background. Retaining a negative view of the state of the world and humanity, she greatly prefers animals – so much more focused and straightforward in their purpose. All except for pigeons, that is. So it comes as a surprise to her to find herself empathising with one as it crashes into a bush in front of her, its struggle for life stirring something within her, stimulating a desire for change.

Much more assured when focusing on her own existence rather than forcing social commentary, Callaghan doesn't quite convince you that she's back on her upwards path. Though since she's unquestionably got the comedic gifts to get there, you hope she succeeds.