Danielle Ward: Speakeasy/Playdead
Wobbly but winning stand-up
This article is from 2012.
One of the two shows the English comedian is performing on alternate nights is billed as Speakeasy. Accordingly, as the audience take their seats, Ward, who’s dressed in an all-in-one trouser suit with a stylish retro print, pours cocktails for those who want a free drink a vintage jazz soundtrack. That’s a pretty pleasing way to start a show.
Thereafter, the jazz age overtones are abandoned and Ward launches into a routine that’s built around various dull, odd and disappointing jobs she had before becoming a comedian. The material is mediocre, and Ward has to work hard to keep the crowd engaged, frequently explaining her jokes and repeatedly making light of the fact that they don’t go down as well as expected.
But Ward’s got moxie and she’s up to the task. And, happily, she’s finishes her set with some really pretty good material. Breaking from the autobiographical gags, Ward launches into a spirited attack on the government, and she makes the political material her own by sexualising it in a neat subversion of masculine stand-up comedy.
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 27 Aug, 8.20pm, £8.50--9.50 (£7.50--8.50).