Self-aware yet distinctive act
This article is from 2009.
Danielle Ward is not, it emerges quickly, your common or garden aide-mémoire comic, reheating pre-cooked observations and serving them on a Styrofoam plate of uninvested playing-at-caring. Her thematic inventiveness is evident from the first skit, a surreal and creatively silly (if overlong) true or false quiz. In the darker spells, of which there are many, she is also a maven of the butt-squirming pause. Towers of awkward tension are erected and demolished with nothing more than silence and a crooked smile.
Ward’s chief strength is her originality. Not once does her material stray into that misguided reappropriation of gender stereotypes (crying, shopping, being bad at DIY) that mires so many good female comics’ acts. Her failing is a broadcasted awareness of this and of her leftfield credentials. She tends to parenthetically contextualise her jokes (‘this won’t get me on McIntyre’s Roadshow’; ‘if you’re looking for someone who talks about shoes and men you’ve come to the wrong show’ etc), mitigating their impact. Once this self-annotating tic has been reined in, she’ll have the makings of a distinctive, stimulating, envelope-pushing performer.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 9.45pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8).