It takes some time for Sara Schaefer to get up a proper head of steam out here in the Pleasance Courtyard Portakabins, partly because she seems understandably shaken by the onslaught of staggering news emerging from the States right now.
Born in Virginia, not far from Charlottesville, Schaefer opens the show by apologising to the audience for her nation’s current President—something of a staple for US comics this year—and follows up with some recently-written material about the state of things back home.
That’s timely and welcome, but it’s when Schaefer launches into her better-honed routines that this show really begins to fly. ‘Launches’ is probably not the appropriate word, in truth, as the delivery here is actively low-octane, which just adds extra punch to the moments where she suddenly flips: stamping on Satan’s face, for example.
The main thrust of Little White Box is her Christian upbringing, which she doesn’t stamp on quite so fiercely. Schaefer believes that reading the Bible led her to become a liberal, but also bemoans those who’ve taken a less open-minded interpretation. One controversial US craft shop causes in-store cognitive dissonance, as she covets the products but rails against their religion-fuelled policies. The minefield of how on earth to live ethically in a capitalist society is particularly well dealt with here.
Some of that Bible Belt background was seriously weird, though, and the highlights of this fine Fringe debut are her bizarre reminiscences, of Church Camp, Christian clowns and the little white box of the title. You’ll need to hear it to believe it.