Innes McQuillin

Edinburgh Fringe review: Fern Brady, People Are Idiots

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Last year Fern Brady shared an hour on the Free Fringe. This year she’s doing a solo hour at The Stand. Last year the audience paid to get out. This year they’re paying to get in. Last year she was promising. This year she’s kicking down the door to the big time.

Having reviewed Fern last year, the speed of her development is little short of astonishing. It’s immediately clear that her stage persona is more accessible, believable and consistent.

While a small part of that is down to Fern slightly tempering the vernacular of her West Lothian roots, the major portion comes from the intelligence, variety and quality of her material. It simply sparkled.

If that weren’t enough, she performed her set flawlessly, with a touch of theatricality that suggests acting roles would be within her skill set.

A couple of Fern’s best routines from last year featured again, in new and improved versions. Apart from that it was new material all the way.

Admitting to be easily given to anger, Fern entertainingly rails and vents about life’s idiots she encounters.

Other high points, her routines on politics and meditation – will appeal even to people who have no interest in either – and her foot fetish sketch is a triumph. Comedy connoisseurs are additionally rewarded with a nice running gag and succession of call backs.

Armed with the confidence to take a risk and try new things, Fern’s developed into a rounded performer, capable of light and shade, playing it strictly for laughs one moment, throwing in more thought provoking material the next.

Performing to a full house audience in a small room at noon, Fern’s beautifully paced, consistent set drew laughter and applause throughout. She’s more than ready for a bigger room at a later time slot. And her rise won’t stop there.


Date of live review: 18 August 2015, The Stand Comedy Club 4

Click to read all our 2015 Edinburgh Fringe coverage so far.