A Broad Abroad @ C Venues

New solo show from a compelling stage presence

Review by Katie Hawthorne | 14 Aug 2018
  • A Broad Abroad

Unfortunately this broad abroad won’t be abroad much longer: Emily Ferrier is being deported. To Canada, admittedly, but still.

Ferrier trades on charisma and her Canadian-ness to charm a cosy audience with self-deprecating anecdotes about cultural differences, a non-existent love life and a supposedly stagnant career. The Fringe is her last chance to win a prize and qualify for the UK's bizarre Talent Visa – it's all on the line and, as she cheerfully admits, on-stage self-destruction pays so she’s here to cash in. The hour mixes stand-up (and press-ups!) with real-time confessional Skype calls to her sister Danielle in New York, who offers withering one-liners and unconditional support. The warmth of this sibling friendship is the heart of the show, and it’s this dynamic – as well as Ferrier’s relaxed, open delivery – that helps A Broad Abroad survive some technical glitches.

The screen behind Ferrier shows us their text conversations. The messages are sweet, funny and integral to the show’s narrative, but they’re too often out of focus and tricky to read. A woman in the back row employs a stranger to whisper them to her.  Later, when the screen accidentally returns to a previous image, Ferrier is un-phased: “Déjà vu!” she shrugs, smiling. She illustrates the brutality of casting calls in blunt vignettes, and finds recognisable humour in the fear of returning home to face your parents without a shelf full of accolades. There are a few too many jokes addressed to the ‘English’ habit of apologising, though, which feel slightly misplaced. A Broad Abroad’s transatlantic connection is fresh and Ferrier has a compelling presence, so it's a shame that she dips into comfy, well-worn material a little too often.

A Broad Abroad, C Venues (Royale), 1-27 Aug (not 14), £8.50-£6.50

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