The theme of moving house - especially a move that brings you into permanent residence with your partner and an opportunity to learn all their annoying habits - might strike many as a less-than-hilarious experience, rather than one that lends itself to the comedy stage. However, the instantly-likeable Jessica Fostekew’s free show proves to be a well-crafted observational tale that packs plenty of laughter in.
In spite of drawbacks that in some ways typify the fringe - the faulty microphone, constant klaxons going off in the neighbouring venue, a shut bar - Fortescue gains the empathy of an audience for whom many will know the pains of living with a hoarder (her boyfriend owns, among other useless tat, three deflated footballs and two drawers of broken scart cables) and the regular tensions that can exist (‘You didn’t clean out the toastie maker like you said you would, so I think we should break up!’).
Fostekew offers a good mix of describing her own experiences living with her boyfriend for the first time - observing quirks of habit that are magnified in those particular situations such as naming your own car - and utilising props. For example, she reads an unfortunate letter from her neighbours describing how thin bedroom walls don’t bode well for their bedroom antics.
By her own admission, Fortescue has switched to the Free Fringe this year after two successful but hugely expensive years playing the ‘Big Four’ venues. It’s their loss and the Cabaret Voltaire’s gain, as her show is definitely worth paying for. Fortescue’s comedy certainly ‘moves’ in the right direction.