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Jake Farrell: Sky – Pleasance Courtyard

Nothing to do with the broadcasting company, or Sophie Sheridan’s love interest in Mamma Mia!, ‘Sky’ is the name of Jake Farrell’s neighbour’s dog, who barks incessantly day and night. I could relate to his inability to get the day job done, having had an equally noisy canine next door – working from home is not without challenges. With an engaging and likeable stage presence, Farrell describes a house move with all the implications for him, his partner and his family. Skipping the stuff about mortgage applications, estate agents and solicitors’ fees, moving back to his hometown of Stevenage is used as a stepping stone to other memories and recollections about the intervening years since he left in the first place.

Jake Farrell: SkyGoing off to university was, when he was a teenager, all the rage (and still is, I think), though his distinctly working-class background (some care is taken, with the audience’s help, to (sort of) define what ‘working-class’ precisely means) put him, he felt, at a disadvantage. It was a case of observing ‘how the other half live’ as his fellow students were evidently substantially better off, had different interests, and so on and so forth. It wasn’t easy, and dropout rates (whatever one’s background) being what they were, and are, I’d say he did well to stay the course, literally and figuratively.

It almost naturally follows, then, that he works in the charity sector for an organisation that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get into university, so that others don’t have to endure the difficulties he faced not knowing anything about the university experience before day one. The comedy hour makes diversions and digressions into other topics, with a particularly animated and amusing moment about how much further down the line treatments for women’s medical ailments would be if the same issues were suffered by men.

The set’s conclusion is suitably rousing, bringing together the various threads previously introduced into a surprisingly dark but cathartic crescendo. An unusual triumph over adversity story told with refreshing honesty and disarming honesty.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Opening with an intimate look into his family life and the decision to relocate back home with his girlfriend, Farrell then deftly depicts the incidents that turned his prodigal return into a series of unfortunate events: rat infestations, mad neighbours, a diagnosis of endometriosis and a dog who never shuts up (to name a few). ‘Sky’ is a cautiously hopeful look at how, sometimes, it’s only when something bad happens that you learn to truly appreciate the good. At the heart of this show is a question: how far would you go for the people you love?

Berk’s Nest Presents
Jake Farrell: Sky
Pleasance Courtyard – Bunker One: 3rd – 28th August 8:40pm

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