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Ava Vidal: Remember Remember The 4th Of November – Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Nione Meakin

Ava Vidal's measured, deadpan delivery is no accident; she, it seems, follows the old adage famously adopted by Teddy Roosevelt: 'Speak softly and carry a big stick.'

No wonder she's confident. Her stick – a biting, brutal wit capable of inflicting serious blows on its targets – is a force to be reckoned with.

In this thoughtful and thought-provoking set, Vidal wonders if the election of Barack Obama could inspire her to lead a better life. From winding up inmates in her former career as a prison officer to her recent arrest on drug charges, she's certainly got somewhere to move on from. It's a loose theme, however and judging by her tone, not one this born rebel is entirely serious about.

Vidal worries about her relationship with drink, especially since her parents were alcoholics. She lectures her teenager about responsibility and maturity, aware of the irony of her argument. She was a single mum as a teenager but, again brandishing that brilliantly warped logic, you can't argue that having two kids doesn't teach you responsibility. There's no catching Vidal out, so let's hope her daughter cuts her losses now.

Even on the political issues, which Vidal takes very seriously indeed, she refuses to succumb to straightforward tub-thumping, preferring to make her feelings known by more inventive means.

She may turn on those who throw eggs at BNP members because, she argues it makes the right-wingers into heroes defending the right to free speech, or get angry at the fashion for 'ironic' racism in comedy,  but she's not above exposing her own prejudices, as she demonstrates at the end of the show in a supposedly PC rant that really isn't.

It's this self-awareness that makes her ferocious intensity palatable. She certainly doesn't try to win her audience round with charm and her act is all the more powerful for it. This is close-to-the-knuckle material that will make you wince as you laugh... and then question why. In a scene dominated mainly by unthreatening feel-good comedy, it's refreshing to see evidence that stand-up still has teeth.

Review date: 20 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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