In this one, Fern Brady comes out fighting. Emerging from beneath a black shroud, she’s instantly at the metaphorical throats of those who impersonate Scottish accents and think it’s funny. At a festival full of English voices, and accompanying misrepresentations of the locals, it’s a refreshingly antagonistic opener and seems like a bold statement of intent.
But just as you think you have her pegged as another bolshie young Scot, flipping the bird at middle-class England, she flips perception on its head with revelations about herself. For Brady is no comedy Nicola Sturgeon. She couldn’t give a hoot about politics (unless you pay her), she couldn’t even give much of a hoot about Scotland. But she is disgruntled and full of pent-up attitude in a whole load of other, very entertaining ways.
She makes a big play about being an angry headcase; if she is, she’s a very friendly angry headcase. You’re safe here – there’s never any danger she’ll engage in combative audience interaction. Her bile stays strictly stage side, reserved for herself (especially her facial features), for Radio 4 comedy, and for six types of people she has identified that blight her life. Realising she’s missed a bit she now needs for the latter topic, she backs up skillfully, to much laughter.
An enjoyable routine about her meditation diary (spoiler: switching off isn’t her strong point) peters out into an obvious rant about former gender issue du jour, manspreading. Conversely, an unpromising mention of tindr – please, Fringe, spare us more of these – leads into a hilarious scene involving an online conversation with a foot fetishist. On this occasion she’s helped by having a particularly funny audience member playing the fetishist, but it’ll likely make a good closer anytime.
There’s a lot of fine stuff here, with no artifice – just natural, forthright comic ability.