REVIEW: Badass by Sarah Mills ★★★★
Updated: Jun 2
Badass is a classic tale of a 20s-something young woman – dating disasters, bleeding from the bum, meet-cute moments, life changing cancer surgery, yada yada yada.
Sarah Mills is likeable and relaxed in the cellar vault at gorgeous new arts hub Burdall’s Yard. Badass is a classic tale of a 20s-something young woman – dating disasters, bleeding from the bum, meet-cute moments, life changing cancer surgery, yada yada yada (the flippancy represents Sarah’s casual, light-as-a-feather treatment of her own story, not a disrespect for her experience – cancer stories touch everyone and I’m no exception – that’s why it’s so important shows like this exist). Measuring time in Eastenders episodes, Sarah shares yarns of her life as a reality TV producer in her own bachelorette pad, much-loved best friends and a chequered dating history, with a parallel narrative of her encounters with the NHS whilst ‘dying butt-first’.
We could be having a chat down the pub as she draws us in with her wisecracks and riffs.
Sarah is on and off script for this show and seems unperturbed by some technical glitches with sound cues – that’s what Edinburgh previews are all about. We enjoy some annotated science moments, with laminated photos and an exciting pointy stick thing. But mostly it’s just Sarah and us – we could be having a chat down the pub as she draws us in with her wisecracks and riffs.
By the end we felt like mates.
There are some inevitable poo jokes, deftly handled, good topical material and enjoyable call backs too. I particularly enjoyed the way she balanced her major life experience with moments of absolute mundanity. The fun and comedy developed through the show and got me chuckling, with Sarah landing some excellent jokes and building a cute, knowing connection with the audience – until by the end we felt like mates. Which made her homage to the NHS at the end all the more moving – instead of the credits at the end of a soap opera we get a name-checked list and thank yous to the ‘heroes in white coats and blue scrubs’ that helped, treated, supported, operated and otherwise contributed to the rosy situation we’re in now – with Sarah more than three years cancer-free, still dating, and fund-raising to take her show to Edinburgh this summer – she’s got a full run at the Pleasance at 2.05pm every day – catch the show if, like her, you make it.
Beccy Golding is a Bristol-based poet, fool, writer and arts administrator. She has recently created a brand new spoken word night for older / aging / elder women, called Stone the Crones.
Daily poetry at @FridayIsPoetsDay
@stonethecrones on all the socials