Felicity Ward is back after last year's award-winning The Hedgehog Dilemma, and has proven herself a gifted and confident force to be reckoned with.
Despite still touring last year's show until mere weeks ago, Ward has come up with a whole new set, delving into other aspects of her personal life. Her amazingly candid and positive demeanour makes it feel like she's a good friend divulging her secrets, often applying humour to some quite serious topics. It is this friendliness that really seemed to strike a chord with the audience. There were numerous sections involving audience participation, which were always approached in a jovial, supportive manner, with Ward never resorting to cheap put-downs. In fact, her rapport with the audience and ability to respond so effortlessly and wittily to all manner of situations and personalities proved just how versatile a performer she has become.
However, Irregardless lacks the cohesion of last year’s show, which I think is a shame. While The Hedgehog Dilemma was an inspiring journey through Ward’s life, Irregardless is a brief peek into small snapshots of her consciousness. Despite this, she is no less interesting, and maintains the frank but uplifting energy of last year’s show, with well-picked pieces of music throughout, and her infectious vigor. Her use of various props such as the iPod and looping machine were as random as her flits between topics, but were fun nonetheless, the use of her iPhone app was a particular highlight. Furthermore, her storytelling skills were highlighted by her seemingly limitless range of facial expressions and body movements.
Though there was the occasional lull in the quick-fire jokes and stories, Ward’s warmth was what made this show so wonderful. The finale was not as consistently funny as the rest of the show, but it was a triumphant ending, tying together running jokes and ending on a feelgood high. The fact that she personally hands out small gifts to every audience member after the show simply adds to the feeling that this is a comedian who truly connects and gives everything to her audiences.