Comedy review: Fern Brady: Power and Chaos, Monkey Barrel, Edinburgh

I’m slightly scared of Fern Brady – so I’m worried when she complains about people always having to mention that she’s Scottish.
Fern Brady bares her teeth. Picture: Matt CrockettFern Brady bares her teeth. Picture: Matt Crockett
Fern Brady bares her teeth. Picture: Matt Crockett

Fern Brady: Power and Chaos, Monkey Barrel, Edinburgh * * * *

But I’ve given it some thought, and it really isn’t possible to describe her without mentioning it.

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Brady has an utterly unique voice – a broad, genuine Bathgate drawl – completely unlike the fake homogenised Scottish accents you hear on the TV.She’s stunning – heart- shaped face, red lips, long dark hair . She looks like silent film star Clara Bow reincarnated as a riot grrrl– as she leans languidly against the back wall of the Monkey Barrel to deliver her set.

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She’s absolutely fearless – there’s nowhere she won’t go and nothing she won’t say on stage and she’ll switch from snarling and menacing to sweet and girlish in an instant. It’s a killer combination. Brady looks like no-one else, sounds like no-one else and says things you can’t imagine anyone else would say. She’s more like a cartoon, or someone in a film, than in real life. She’s got the attitude of Tank Girl, the wit of Julie Birchill and the comic timing of Ken Dodd.

And she’s fantastically funny – whether she’s talking about fingering girls, being locked up in a mental institution, or watching porn, she’ll find the way to get the biggest possible laugh out of the most outrageous subject matter.

Brady also seems remarkably stable for someone whose life has been so crowded with incident. She doesn’t drink, has a lovely boyfriend and likes to relax by watching cute animal videos on the internet.

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She has just discovered she’s probably on the autistic spectrum – which she’s not happy about – but it might help explain her supernatural gifts. In her case, it is not a disability, it’s a superpower.

Until 25 August