UTG @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Felicity Ward – ‘The Iceberg’


Comic: Felicity Ward
Show: The Iceberg
Venue: The Cube at ACMI

It is estimated that at any given time only 10% of an iceberg’s mass is visible to the human eye, but as many an ill-fated seafarer has learned, it is the other 90% that you need to be worried about. Human beings are much like icebergs in that we only ever reveal a small amount of ourselves to the world at any given time, and often it’s the parts we are hiding that are the truest representation of ourselves. As a result, our lives and our identities become a matter of perception, and there are varying perspectives of all of us. This rather clever analogy is the basis of Australian comedian Felicity Ward’s even cleverer new show, The Iceberg.

A show about Felicity’s varying perspectives on the world, and by extension the world’s varying perceptions of her, The Iceberg is a thought-provoking hour of comedy which starts out small, with tales of a personal nature, before launching into a dizzying, diverse array of topics ranging from politics to watermelon helmets to the historical origins of the ‘dutch oven,’ all delivered in Ward’s now-familiar ‘controller of chaos’ style. A master of many comedic techniques, Ward utilises song, dance, chants, banter, physical comedy and some ingenious prop-work to provide a rather flat midweek audience with a wildly entertaining hour that moves at a pace of several laughs per minute.

A deep thinker who layers her witty insights with a distinctly Australian sense of self-depreciation and occasional elements of absurdity and larrikinism, Ward is a comedian in full control of her craft–a fact that makes even her most far-fetched or whimsical moments (such as her incredibly long-winded take on men wearing watermelon helmets to the cricket) seem utterly compelling.

As the show progresses it’s hard not to find yourself a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of material that is being covered, a factor Ward appears to be wary of as she breaks up the performance with seemingly random interludes in the form of verses from the Fleetwood Mac classic “Landslide,” before resetting and setting out upon yet another hilarious tangent.

Highlighted by a series of riffs on Australian refugee policies and the concept of sexual attraction over time and (on this night anyway) featuring perhaps the best response to a rude patron I’ve ever witnessed live (the language used was far too blue to repeat here), The Iceberg is a delight to witness and serves as an ideal followup to the 2012 Barry Award-winning Hedgehog Dilemma.

Brought to a close with a simply brilliant swerve that only further underlines the show’s point about perspectives, The Iceberg is a show that on the surface promises a lot, but underneath delivers much, much more.

SCORE: 4/5

Felicity Ward’s The Iceberg is on now at the The Cube at ACMI. A complete set of dates and ticket details can be found here

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