Fern Brady: Suffer, Fools!
- Suzanne Black
- 6 August 2017
Hesitant new show from an undoubted rising Scottish stand-up star
After two successful Fringe shows, a BBC pilot and an ensemble travelogue about Brexit on Viceland, this Scottish comedian is known as a force to be reckoned with. However, Suffer, Fools! sees her in a less-than-confident mood. Brady begins by bemoaning the previous day's unreceptive crowd before confessing that she tried to cancel her Fringe run but couldn't get out of it. Resigned to continuing, what follows is a blend of politics, relationships and personal struggles.
Brady breezes comfortably through her views on politics in Northern Ireland, abortion and homophobia going just far enough to tease at the edge of propriety. She is devastating on the topic of 'women in comedy', a continuation of her exploration of gender politics in last year's Male Comedienne (a recording of which is released on 11 August). On relationships she gives us the gift of the phrase 'tally-smally' to describe partners with significant height discrepancies.
At 31, Brady has already lived a full life and has covered her time as a stripper in previous hours. As she veers into more personal territory, divulging her 'inappropriate' responses to events, she becomes less certain. Raw is the word that best describes both her performance and the material that comprises the show's latter part – it's not quite finished and Brady is still working from notes, although that's not unusual at the beginning of a Fringe run.
Vacillating between hesitance and bravado, her discussion of an abusive relationship is painfully honest to the point where if the audience were to laugh, that would be inappropriate. Finding the balance between constructed material with emotional honesty is difficult but Fern Brady is a highly competent comedian with a lot to offer. We should all be glad she's continuing the run.
The Stand II, until 27 Aug (not 14 & 15), 12.05pm, £10 (£9).