Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Felicity Ward – I’m Exhausting

Chaotic stand-up storytelling perfected

Chaotic stand-up storytelling perfected

Presented by: Laughing Stock Productions

Reviewed: 15 March, 2024

Felicity Ward has returned for her first national tour in Australia in five years and she’s back swinging as a natural on the Australian comedy stage.

Ward has been making a name for herself in the UK and on TV back home including roles in Wakefield, semi-regular appearances on The Guilty Feminist and recently was in the news for landing the lead role in the upcoming Australian version of The Office.

The latest show, I’m Exhausting, is chaotic stand-up storytelling perfected. The show has a controlled erratic feel from a professional to the comedy festival circuit. From the onset Ward shares the ADHD diagnosis as part of the framing and expresses that experience as part of the comedy routines.

I’m Exhausting is conversational throughout and comes across as a friend excitedly ready to overshare stories. The stories underlying the comedy run through a general chronological narrative of having a child who’s now a toddler, working through lockdowns, and on to current self-perceptions. The joyful approach doesn’t centre on excessive tales on self-love in the personal reflection but more in finding the fun from the moments.

The show is an entertaining and expressive piece of comedy. There is the use of blunt pauses and variations from sly to overt expressions to cast emphasis and keep everyone at the same pace after some of the more rapid moments. It was at times as if experiencing the inside of someone’s mind as they think and muzzle all the thoughts that might jump forward as they are coming to terms with different life stages. It is definitely all the things that might be thought of while parenting and never said to the child.

The show ends with a guide for straight men on pleasing women which gloriously alters the mood in the room. Ward demonstrates she is an adaptable performer and uses the mood shift for great comedic effect.

Felicity Ward’s I’m Exhausting is showing just this final weekend of Fringe before its next stops in comedy festivals across Australia.

Reviewed by Alex Dunkin

Venue: The Box — The Garden of Unearthly Delights
 Until 17 March, 2024
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $30 – $42

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