Sarah Kendall:Shaken


Sarah Kendall: Shaken

Assembly George Square Studios (venue 17)


to August 28

**** stars

If you know your movies, you’ll know that Ferris Bueller had an awesome day off. The kind of day, Kendall says that she as a thirteen year old girl in a small town in Australia, could only dream about. With not much to do and few friends,movies are the one joy she shares with her grouchy mother.  Movies are where the magic in life happens while she’s marooned in the car park next to the cinema.

One day, things change. And just like Ferris, Kendall takes us on a hilarious trip of self-inflicted chaos, of the type that’s best practiced by teenagers.

Having missed the bus, she arrives late at school and in a mess after various events. She impulsively makes up a story to save her skin and big herself up in front of her classmates and the alcoholic school librarian whom she expertly conjures up with one jeering and the other one in a fog. . In her naivety, she doesn’t realise that she has told the type of story that merits serious attention as we learn from the well-acted principal and his expressive double-takes. Things ripple out, uncontrollably, from the principal’s office, to the local media, and to the police. Her schoolmates are impressed, finally she is the centre of attention and something is happening to her. Even when the seriousness of it is beginning to dawn on her,  she just can’t stop embellishing the story. She’s not in the car park anymore, she’s the fabulous star of the story.

But then she’s rumbled. First by the police officer, who never did believe her story, and then by an equally spotty and lowly student in her class who, also longing for attention, makes up a very similar story. She expertly leads us to see that the end is near. It’s just not the ending anyone expected and someone else’s heroism proves to be transformational – not just for her character but for the audience who are left to rethink the whole story.

From the guileless thirteen year old, to the more mature young woman, and the long-suffering sergeant, she conveys each character and their interactions with a verve and conviction that keeps us entranced throughout. Well worth the visit.