Smooth Response to Prickly Comedy

By Darcy Whitsed

“When I first heard it, I thought it was about how hedgehogs had sex”, was how the audience was greeted by the extremely enthusiastic and hilarious Felicity Ward in her one-night-only Melbourne International Comedy Festival show The Hedgehog Dilemma.

In a show that went against almost all expectations of a live stand-up comedy performance, Ward had the audience engrossed in her outrageous personal anecdotes centered on the Freudian theory of hedgehog-related human intimacy.

Felicity Ward

After appearing as her own pre-show entertainment in a pair of bright pink high heels, tight black singlet and bike shorts and introducing the special DVD filming of the show, the audience was treated Ward’s story that ranged from her watching television alone in sadly unused wedding attire to discovering her potential as a comedian.

This journey was charismatically told with the help of surprisingly ocker sexual innuendos, a cute photo montage (with the shocking punchline of male genitalia), incredible physicality and moments of characterisation. Ward utilized every aspect of her gangly comic arsenal to have the responsive audience in stitches at each twist and turn.

The real charm of the show came from Ward’s unashamed connection to the material. Born from her personal experiences and despite being sad, embarrassing or hilarious, it was all put on display for the audience’s entertainment. The great story-telling within the show gave it an excellent sense of progression and drew the audience into Felicity’s wacky and wonderful world.

The show briefly lulled as the material fell into the clichéd realm of self-deprecating, alcoholic comedian whose life was so dysfunctional it couldn’t possibly be used for anything besides comedy. But this was not enough to taint the performance overall and when the hope-filled and unexpectedly serious conclusion arrived, it actually helped create a great sense of contrast and again surprised the audience by going against their expectations.

The Hedgehog Dilemma came to a teary close for both Ward and audience alike as it was performed for the last time in Australia, which in my opinion is a huge shame. I highly recommend picking up the DVD of this show when it arrives on shelves to anyone that loves comedy, drama, amazing story-telling, hedgehogs or penis-jokes.

The Hedgehog Dilemma was performed at Athenaum Theatre, Monday 15th April 2013.