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Review: ★★★½ Fern Brady: Suffer, Fools! (MICF)

6 April 2018 | 5:14 pm | Joe Dolan

"Brady may not be for everyone, but her story is one that really should be heard by all."

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There's a disarmingly casual charm to the way Fern Brady discusses some of the rather serious subject matter of Suffer, Fools! Her monotone delivery doesn't create a deadpan persona, but instead sidelines any potential tension that could arise. It's an incredibly interesting form of storytelling, but all the while many are stuck dissecting whether or not this is really comedy.

It's not that Suffer, Fools! isn't funny. But it's a style that comedy-goers may not be used to. It's a skin and bones approach to humour that focuses heavily on the life and times of Brady, instead of trying to crowbar in old-school puns and punchlines. It's a style that often comes across as lazy or unimaginative, but Brady makes it a compelling watch.

The Scottish stand-up's distinctive brand of comedy doesn't exactly pave the way for huge belly laughs, but the moments between the chuckles are constantly underlined with a sense of sincerity and tenderness. It's a show designed to make the audience think; to ponder on their own lives and wonder if this material resonates on a more personal level than it appears at the surface.

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So rarely does a comic present this sort of intense subject matter without a run up that when Brady does go into those moments, it feels like a relaxed conversation between old friends. There are no preconceived stigmas about topics that are normally societal taboos, and it's a fresh approach to the discussion that opens the doors for judgement-free conversations in the future.

Brady may not be for everyone, but her story is one that really should be heard by all.

Fern Brady presents Suffer, Fools! until 22 Apr at ACMI, part of the 2018 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.