“Neatly fastened in by her top button, this is a comedian with a sense of humour that’s as sharp as her enviable undercut”
BY BRODIE CRELLIN
“Who likes unisex toilets?” Sarah Keyworth asks the crowd.
A divisive question, particularly at the moment.
(Personally I love them. Not only are there less queues, but it feels as if we might finally be moving beyond the binary of the woman in the triangular dress and the pinhead stickman…)
Sarah on the other hand, does not like unisex toilets and for a moment I had the sinking feeling about the company we were in. Thankfully, this was not the case.
It’s just that for Sarah, the gender neutral toilet is too often synonymous with anxiously hovering over a slightly grimey seat, or avoiding the gaze of uncomfortable cis men.
In the social context of the unisex bathroom, Sarah observes that men have a tendency to blurt out ominous phrases which include (but are no means limited to), “I mean you no harm!”
Clearly, our efforts to adopt safer and more inclusive bathroom policies leave a lot to be desired.
Sarah also asks us, “Who likes being gay?” A large proportion of the audience does. But the response to, “Who was ever called a tomboy? Who liked being called a tomboy?” is less certain.
For a lot of queer women, the word “tomboy” carries a lot of weight. A word used to label those of us who struggled to find themselves within the parameters of femininity; “tomboy” separates those girls who are too messy, wear too much camo or are just simply too much for the discrete category of “girl”.
Through witty and personal reflections, Sarah explores the way that language shapes and restricts our understanding of gender (non)conformity – particularly during childhood.
Keyworth’s show tackles some heavy topics; she shares her experiences of being bullied at school, being slut shamed at university and her semi-successful crusades into the arena of heterosexuality.
Still, interspersed with the more serious material are some hilarious stories that practically all audience members – regardless of gender or sexuality – can relate to. Namely: Trying on clothes.
Arguably an immensely vulnerable experience. Firstly, you have to forgo the comfort of your familiar threads, then you have to strip behind a flimsy curtain and then finally, you have to try on stuff that for all you know, might make you look terrible.
The worst thing that can happen next? Your mum disappears from outside the changing rooms.
Although if you’re Sarah Keyworth it can get a lot more awkward – especially when you’re in your twenties and you’re trying on suits in the boys’ section of Next kids.
But as the show points out, what’s a small lesbian to do?
Smart, observant and consistently hilarious Dark Horse wryly deconstructs the gender binary and gives us an hour of laughs in the process.
Personal highlights include the time Keyworth rocked up to a wedding in her new suit (courtesy of Next’s pre-teen collection), her astute assessment that a baby in a dress looks more like a shuttlecock than a female child and her insistence on the particularities of the lesbian laugh.
Follow her on Twitter @sarahkcomedy