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Ava Vidal: The Hardest Word

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Marissa Burgess

As Ava Vidal acknowledges herself, she's been criticised in recent reviews for talking about race again. It seems like a tenuous and petty criticism, for as she points out, it’s surely relevant while there's still racism in the world. Besides it's not as if that's all this show is about.

Although apologies are the theme, that her new show features race is one thing that she's definitely not sorry about. But she is thinking about eating humble pie over a spat she had with a fellow comedian at the Fringe last year. Happening before she embarked on a worldwide tour, it gave her plenty of time to consider her position - one sat somewhere between guilt and not liking the comedian in question anyway.

As she travels about the globe Vidal considers apologies; weaving her way through some of her own and other more public ones – such as News International's stated remorse over phone hacking – as well as stopping to consider those too that are well overdue.

It's another challenging and straight talking hour from Vidal that eventually manages to draw in her quiet audience, who were so laid back they forgot to clap at the top of the show. As ever in her stand-up Vidal juggles the profound and the irreverent, rapidly alternating between the two.

Ever quick to cut through a serious point with an acerbic one liner, Vidal leaps from Aussie prime minister Julia Gillard's conservative attitude to gay marriage to suspect apple apparently given only to ethnic minorities on the flight to Australia, suggesting it’s a bid to catch them out in customs.

It's a similar duality that Vidal employs on the material that's closer to home. Her daughter makes another, apparently reluctant, appearance in her set complaining that she's fed up with her mother calling her fat. Vidal's typically acidic in her response. It's refreshing to hear a mother talk about her kids like that –  though, of course, she's joking. We assume.

Review date: 21 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess

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