Comedy review: Felicity Ward: 50% More Likely To Die

Felicity Ward is opening up about mental health Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Felicity Ward is opening up about mental health Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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Twitchy, nervy livewire ­Australian Felicity Ward came clean about her chronic anxiety in last year’s show.

This year, although the title refers to a worrying statistic about people with anxiety and depression, Ward focuses on laughs, referring to her mental health as a side issue, something she’s learning to live with.

She’s having a lot of fun on stage, punctuating her routines with a klaxon siren she works from her phone.

Other than that it is pretty straight stand-up, observations about life in her adopted city of London, references to her crazy Australian family and her attempts to communicate with them long distance, via Skype.

There’s a well-structured interwoven narrative about public transport, a self-­hypnosis tape and a true story about how she lost her bag on the way to a television interview. Her on-stage outfit, of stone-washed jeans and tie-dyed T-shirt, is a recreation of the clothes she ended up wearing on TV after leaving her clothes on the bus. Ward’s eccentric kooky feminist political persona is thoroughly grounded in who she really is, and she’s learned to manage her manic energy as well as mining it for laughs. Her gawky self-effacing charm makes the audience adore her right from the off.

She gets great big rolling laughs all the way through the show and loves to bounce off audience members in the front rows who are helpless with laughter. By being open and straightforward about her mental health, without making it centre stage, she has created a show with heart which wears its activism lightly. You can hear people opening up about their own issues as they leave the ­building.

But more than this, it is her skill as a stand-up which leaves her audience buzzing with excitement.

Until 29 August. Today 9pm.

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