Felicity Ward’s Ugly As A Child Variety Show [FringeTIX]
Felicity Ward @ The Pod
9:45pm, Sat 21 Feb 2009
Let’s just get one thing straight – I fucking loved this show. But I’m not sure that the rest of the nearly-full-house shared my sentiments, because there seemed to be a distinct lack of audience noise for most of the gig. Now, that may have been due to the completely anti-climactic start to the show: Felicity Ward stumbles onstage with no fanfare and a quiet, bumbling apology, and a few minutes pass before you actually realise that the show has indeed commenced.
Why did I like this show so much? Because Ward’s fractured delivery is so enjoyable – she’ll happily rapid-fire through some jokes, make some self-deprecating references which lapse into sing-song internal monologues, then dive off into something so remote from her previous train of thought that the contrast is grin-inducingly charming. Throw in some brilliant characterisations (the school therapist, assorted junkies and drunkards) and you’ve got a roaming show that delivers plenty of laughs.
As with last night’s “comedy”, Ward relies on her family for the bulk of the laughs – and she’s got plenty of source material to work with, with her back-punching mother (“shut up, ya poofter”) and her sometimes absent father (leading to the utterly surreal Meat Dad – “Meat Dad, you smell like salmonella.”) Her “ugly”-imposed lonesome childhood also proves a great comedic crutch, with samples of her pre-teen angst poetry lightening the mood. The tail end of the show brings with it some audience interaction – and the volunteer from the audience was so drunk he could barely stand still, nor keep from drooling all over the stage; but Ward still managed to garner guffaws from his grinning idiocy, and won the audience over.
There’s tons of drunk stories, a weird jaunt with John Laws & John Howard, a little bit of guitar… hell, it’s all good. “I like the fact that I can wear pretty dresses and tell cock jokes,” Felicity says towards the end of the show, “rather than the other way around.” Yep, I like that too; she’s completely won me over with enthusiasm, surrealism, and – above all – talent.