With the motor mouth and unfettered energy of a true extrovert, Felicity Ward is a loud and boisterous comedian with a habit of following incongruous jokes by looking at the audience with an expression of “did I just say that?” stamped across her beaming countenance.

If she wasn’t wary of audience interactions before this year’s festival, she is now. Things got hairy during an early performance of The Hedgehog Dilemma when Ward invited a young man “with a killer fringe” onto the stage and asked him to read a script — with a lisp.

Instead he handed her a business card (she tucked it down her top), discussed her breasts and then, pretending to read from the script, asked her about orgasms. Ward wisely directed the sleazy fellow back to his seat. It was weird, car crash audience interaction, but she handled it well.

In the show there is much talk about the adventures of Ward’s vagina and banter about hedgehogs as a romantic analogy (i.e. every time you get close to someone, you get hurt). There is also tales of her trip to Edinburgh festival, where she — and every other female — battle with the cobble pavement.

Ward’s delivery is fine but the material needs work. She waffles, the stories go around in circles and there are few memorable jokes. Displaying images of animals and a penis on the screen are lazy gags and the show ends on a strange moment of self-congratulation that feels like a last minute attempt to spruik the performer’s bona fides.

Ward has entertaining stage mannerisms but her style and form pales in comparison to other comics; she needs to workshop snappier, smarter stuff. She is also obviously most comfortable as an actor, which fits the feeling that the audience never really come to know her or form a clear impression of her personality. Worse, that instead of being a comedian she is merely playing the part of one.

The Hedgehog Dilemma is on Tuesday to Saturday at 9:45pm and Sundays at 8:45pm at Victoria Hotel. 

Luke Buckmaster also reviews films on Crikey film blog Cinetology.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey