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Ava Vidal: Lessons I Should Have Learnt

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Marissa Burgess

Ava Vidal has always used the personal in her stand up. When she first took to the comedy scene she shared tales about being a single mum and a former prison guard. Frank irreverence was the order of the day, but in this show she’s surpassed herself.

Bounding onto the stage with the opening line of, ‘So anyway I was waiting for the result of my HIV test…’ you know that what’s coming is going to be pretty intimate.

The title, Lessons I Should Have Learnt, is a reference to the difference between getting older and actually growing up. It’s our experiences that make us grown-ups, not the years passing and Vidal’s show tells of how she has done a lot of growing up in the last year; a year that saw her have to take the aforementioned Aids test as a consequence of a relationship with an Israeli guy called Henry.

The story catalogues the arguments she had with the bigoted and fervently Zionist, making you ask yourself why she bothered going out with him in the first place, then think again as you recall previous questionable boyfriends of your own. His behaviour goes from bad to worse but I won’t spoil the surprise as to the depths he plumbs.

Elsewhere her children make another appearance in her material with some pretty brutal stuff about her daughter. ‘She’s not fat at all,’ she claims retracting previous statements she’s made in her shows, ‘but she is ugly’. And the video showing how her teenage daughter’s male friends all fancy the attractive thirty-something Vidal is a gloriously tongue in cheek indulgence. Before the close of the show there’s more video to take in with Vidal’s own X Factor style montage.

To get away with such heavy subject matters, the descriptions of an abhorrent boyfriend and the harsh words with which she talks of her children takes great skill and Vidal delivers with aplomb. Her timing is spot on, underscoring an insulting remark with a tight punch line. Throughout her wit is dry and the gags are textbook. An assured offering.

Review date: 16 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess

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