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Ava Vidal: The Hardest Word
Published on Thursday, 11 August 2011

3 stars

The Stand Comedy Club V (venue website)
3 Aug, 6:45pm-7:45pm; 5-14, 16-28 Aug, 5:05pm-6:05pm
Reviewed by Rachel Hartley-Davison

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

It seems to me that the obvious reference would be to Elton John, but let's try something different.  Nirvana once took it upon them to discuss ‘All Apologies’ – and, in The Hardest Word, Ava Vidal is on similar lines this Fringe.  Her subject is that tricky old ‘S’ word, 'sorry', and she certainly has the sass, the colourful past and the confidence to run with this show.

In answering her question (why is sorry the hardest word?), Vidal takes us on a whistle-stop journey of her experiences calling at motherhood, travel, politics, religion and race, amongst other minor stops. Her attitude to apology and life in general gives the show some zing. The subject works well for her brand of subtle disdain – especially true as she discusses her ‘fat’ daughter and her banter with fellow comics.

There are plenty of intriguing observations here – she is an interesting lady. She has a good sense for the longevity of a story, and engages with the audience. I did find the material waning towards the latter half but was entertained nonetheless.

Her delivery style is measured and engaging, regularly interrupted by sly asides, and it’s a killer combination when these elements work. Yet I occasionally had moments of insight coupled with the sense that they lacked comic value. But perhaps that's just me - there were plenty of people laughing in the audience.

Vidal’s show aspires to address the nature of apology in the celeb/political world, and it’s fair to say that she weaves this thread successfully between clever anecdotes and flashes of sharp perception. However, all in all I found myself more intrigued than amused and, at times, I felt as contemplative listening to her as I would most likely be with Kobain et al droning in the background.

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