Felicity Ward is funny. Here’s why.
She gathers and shares crap shop puns (‘Halal, is it Meat you’re looking for?’). She does a ridiculous and poignant impression of an emotional woman in a toilet cubicle. She suggests that kids are at a good age when they can still be moved by their head. She admits to having been called, and perhaps not unfairly, Sewer Rat and Dicknose. She is able to take the comically innocuous (the phrase ‘serious smoker’, for example) and then wring a sketch from it about a guy who farts about when having a fag. She puts her audience in a very sober mood by talking about the regrettable legal history of non-consensual sex (permitted between married couples until 1990) and then makes a joke about non-consensual sax (eruptions of unwanted saxophone). She tells crap jokes and still gets laughs, by dint of her verbal dexterity and astute timing. And she even looks funny – like the glamorous love-child of a laboratory assistant and a Holocaust survivor.
Ward also has manners. When a couple arrived ten minutes late Ward retold them the early stages of a story about meat pies so they wouldn’t be alienated from the punch-line. Of course, manners alone don’t make a comic a good one, but they can certainly endear and ingratiate, and thus set-off within the audience a kind of supportive willingness to be amused. Not that Ward is altogether squeaky-clean and salubrious – I reckon the vagina and paedophilia were the most referenced concepts during her set (Is a vagina a concept?).
Indeed, Ward’s ribaldry is matched only by the sharpness of her comic reflexes, which come to the fore most clearly when she banters with the audience. This sharpness is a particular asset, for it is knowing, or at least sensing, that a witty retort or aside did not come from a stock of prefabricated phrases and ideas which can set a comic apart in the eyes of the audience. Sometimes when comics attempt audience banter, one can sense them wriggling discreetly off the unscheduled topic and back onto more secure terrain. Not so here. Ward is as quick off-road as she is on it.
Ward has been enjoyed by Australian TV and radio audiences for some time now, and won awards along the way. Let it continue.
2011 Adelaide Fringe Festival
Venue: The Garden Of Unearthly Delights Adelaide
Dates/Times: 11 Feb - 13 Mar (excl. Mon & 18 Feb) at 7.30pm
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $25 (Conc , Tue & Preview 11 -1 3 Feb $20)
Bookings: FringeTix - 1300 FRINGE (1300 374 643) | www.adelaidefringe.com.au