There’s something exhilarating about seeing a comedian’s opening show. A new crowd, a different city, and no way to know if anyone will laugh at your jokes. That didn’t stop Melbourne-based comedian Alex Ward from bouncing confidently onto stage and demanding a round of applause to welcome her show No Flirting. Cool, calm and collected, Alex delivered an act that was everything you want from a comedy show; I laughed, I cringed and I walked out of Carlton’s Trades Hall feeling jolly.
Alex covered topics ranging from aeroplane antics, irrational tendencies, mixed gender sport teams, her dog and bad haircuts, and perhaps most impressively, somehow managed to weave these into a coherent narrative. Her transition between anecdotes was seamless and her ability to use earlier references to deliver new punch lines was a tribute to the level of thoughtful consideration and planning given to the show.
No Flirting’s main story was delivered over a long period of time, constantly interrupted with other stories and contextual information. It was a masterful technique that offered a sense of progression and structure to the show, or at the very least, made the audience impatient to hear how the story concluded. The story was told using the full range of resources available: sound effects, screenshots, video footage and Alex’s extremely expressive eyebrows.
Alex’s ability to read the audience made for excellent banter. Her relaxed, confident approach elicited hilarious audience interaction; a nice change from crowds reluctant to participate in fear of humiliation. Quick-thinking and readily armed with a fiery comeback, Alex’s impromptu comedy was put to the test by a few sly, or perhaps just enthusiastic, audience members. After revealing various details about her sexuality, a comment from the crowd provided her with the opportunity to deliver what turned out to be the highlight of the show. It was unplanned, unscripted and completely hilarious.
If her first show was anything to judge by, Alex Ward is set to deliver some excellent acts over the next month. She’s now warmed up and ready to go. My only advice is don’t book tickets with your dad.
No Flirting is on at 8:30pm at Trades Hall until 21 April as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets can be purchased from the comedy festival website, the box office or at the venue.