IBS and anxiety are grist to Felicity's comedy mill

Felicity Ward

Felicity Ward

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50 Per Cent More Likely To Die is the title of the latest show from Aussie stand-up Felicity Ward (Komedia, Brighton, Wednesday, October 12, 0845 293 8480)

Off the back of her Australian documentary Felicity’s Mental Mission (ABC1/ABC2) about mental illness and irritable bowel syndrome, Felicity delves into the depths of her depression, anxiety and IBS.

The good news is that she promises it will be funny. As her promoters say, she has proven herself to be neurotic, eccentric and disturbed, but also one of the funniest and finest comics around. The show is her first tour: “And I am really excited,” she says. “I did tours in Australia, in the context of festivals – mini-tours, doing five or six individual dates. But I haven’t done a full national tour before. I suppose I am just surrounded now by people that believe in me that I can do it.” Momentum has built, in other words: “It’s lovely to think for my ego that a national tour is essential!”

The UK is now home: “I had a nice life in Australia, but I wanted to get better, and the way to get better is to gig more. I thought ‘Let’s go to the Mecca!’ London. I was supposed to be in London for six months, but that’s all over now, the idea of just six months. I am engaged now and I have been in this country for about three years.”

And no, she doesn’t believe the accent is to her advantage: “I think the (Australian) accent is absolutely hideous, and I can’t believe the number of people who have said they like the Australian accent. They must have some sort of connection with old convicts.” Felicity can, by way of compliment, now do a pretty good English accent: “The way to do it is to stick a pen between your teeth. Australians don’t open their mouths. If you stick a pen between your teeth, it forces you to articulate and you can speak English!”

Felicity has been delighted by audience response over here: “I have IBS and I have anxiety and I have depression, and I have no problems talking about it… even if the rest of the world finds it quite shameful.”

The show is a follow-on from last year’s sell-out five-star show What If There Is No Toilet? which recently won the New Zealand Comedy Festival Best International Show.

Now comes 50 Per Cent More Likely To Die, a show which reflects the fact that people with anxiety and depression are 50 per cent more likely to die in any number of circumstances. As Felicity says, it made her wonder if she could go further into mental illness and still make people laugh.

As she was writing the show, she left her bag on a bus containing her laptop, keys, wallet and some pretty fancy headphones: “This show is also about a lady with control issues who loses her bag…”

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