Ava Vidal’s new stand-up show explores whether its better in this day and age to ‘go Dutch,’ and fend for ourselves or take a more communal approach to life as the English do with buying rounds of drinks in bars.
Vidal has an easy confidence on stage, quickly bringing the audience on side with the opener “I called this show Ava Vidal Goes Dutch because I’d toured Holland and didn’t want to pay for any more posters.”
She expands on her experiences in Holland, exploring the myth that the country is intrinsically more liberal than other parts of Europe before going on to muse about the nature of community and social inclusion.
Vidal has a knack for drawing the comedic potential out of serious issues such as prejudice and racism, the social exclusion of the younger generation and the causes of the 2011 riots.
The show works due to Vidal’s consistently impeccable timing, building up emotive stories and leaving the audience on tenterhooks before dropping carefully constructed and explosive punch lines.
Many of the people in the sold out audience on this first night of her residency at the Soho Theatre will know her from her numerous TV appearances including Mock the Week, but it’s in the live arena that Vidal really comes into her own. Her style lends itself to longer sets much more easily than it does to the quick-fire nature of panel shows.
This is a well constructed and highly enjoyable journey through Vidal's particular world view, covering numerous subjects from touring in Australia through to the perceptions her children have of their mum as a stand-up comedian. This particular bit culminates in a hilarious anecdote about the reactions of her son’s 13 year old friends to her appearance on Let’s Dance for Sport Relief.
Overall, Vidal is an assured performer who can move between making serious points and firing off gags with ease. From the start of the set she has the audience eating out of her hand. If you like well constructed comedy that makes a point then check out ‘Ava Vidal goes Dutch.’
By Andrew Taylor
Ava Vidal Goes Dutch is at Soho Theatre at 9.30pm, ends 14 April. Tickets £10-£12.50.