A broken engagement, recovery from alcoholism, unemployment. These don’t sound like topics for a stand-up comedy but Felicity Ward uses them and she uses them with flair. By taking us on a whirlwind journey through her own dilemmas, Ward explores the Hedgehog Dilemma: do we cuddle up and keep warm and risk hurting each other with our spikes, or do we keep ourselves safe from spikes but risk ending up alone in the cold?
She bounds onto the stage wearing the dress she was supposed to get married in, and immediately engages us in her hysteria. Ward’s energetic physicality is incredible, successfully supporting every hilarious line. She is not only a belly-aching comedienne but a quality actress too, enabling her to move swiftly between stand up and one-woman sketch shows in which she plays all the characters. She also spontaneously bursts into mime, slow motion, and a song about her drunken escapades that had me in giggles and tears. The brilliant support of lighting and sound creates swift and seamless movement through the show.
If you have a funny laugh you might want to cover it up because you will guffaw throughout this show and Ward may single you out and mock you. Her audience interaction was spectacularly funny without being offensive and showed that she is as uproarious as her script. Her timing was perfect throughout, with both pauses and unending babble used to great effect. I’ve also never heard someone swear as funnily as she did. Many comedians throw in the four-letter words but with Ward every cuss was a punchline.
Ultimately, Ward is telling us the story of how she got here to the Fringe and she is brutally honest about it. There is a deep emotion below every layer of laughs and there are moments when we come dangerously close to scraping the surface and feel as though if we didn’t laugh, we might cry. Her continuous costume changes represent the changes in her mindset as she struggles with her obstacles and by the end, we are left with the overwhelmingly positive impression that she overcame her hedgehog dilemma and that we can too.