“This is gonna feel a lot like a one-night stand,” begins Emily Ferrier, a perfect phrase to encapsulate Ferrier’s affectionate, yet no-holds-barred perspective on the world. Her Edinburgh Fringe debut, A Broad Abroad, is a highly original and massively impressive showcase of comedic talent from a fresh new female voice, championing the “ex-pat” spirit through the trials and tribulations of one Canadian actress, her sister back home, and the magic of Facetime.
Stepping into Ferrier’s incredibly intimate space, you can’t help but feel like you’ve just entered a small theme park ride, waiting for the thrills to begin. Ferrier addresses the audience casually and personally, getting to know the selected crowd (and even gaining an offer of marriage from a certain “Mr. Martin”) before diving into the considerable amount of culture shocks she experienced over her past three years in the UK. A graduate of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Ferrier has worked semi-steadily (a fact she explores thoroughly throughout her routine) as an actress, teacher, and most of all, stand-up comedian. However, her visa is expiring and she is on the road to deportation—so she uses A Broad Abroad to reflect back on her experiences (or, misadventures) across the pond, whilst giving one last plea for a Talent Visa to land on her doorstep.
Ferrier is honest, original, and feels like one of your close friends. Personally, as an expat myself, I was surprised by not only how much I related to the performance, but how much of the audience were expats themselves, or tourists, or casual visitors. It was a great reminder how internationally welcoming the Fringe community can be in Edinburgh. Ferrier’s performance is well-paced and excellently timed, keeping my attention entertained and interested by flawlessly shifting between traditional stand-up, mime, acted-out scenarios, and a recurring Facetime call to Toronto, Canada. The idea is so simple—and in today’s technologically-advanced world, I’m surprised I haven’t found more Fringe shows utilising this resource. Ferrier uses the social media involvement sparingly and purposefully which works to Ferrier’s strengths —you’re not just eavesdropping on a private FaceTime call between sisters .
The performance has a defined narrative and structure, however the ending feels a little abrupt and sudden after such a personal show. It’s not improved stand-up, per say—it’s meant to tell a story, and speak to her experiences and pitfalls as a sort of cautionary-like tale.
What’s more is that Ferrier isn’t afraid to buck the steady stream of laughs to interrupt with an important political and/or social message. Or speak to the loneliness of expats. She asks throughout, “Why do I leave? [Canada]”, and, “Why do I return to the UK?”, which, for many starting professionals, is a common feeling that Ferrier gives a voice too—albeit, a sarcastic one. She is self-aware, and uses her moment to shine to all its advantages.
Fresh, fun, and unassumingly relatable, A Broad Abroad is a wholly unique comedy show that can hold its own. An unmissable performance.
Emily Ferrier: A Broad Abroad
C Royale, Studio 3 – Venue 6
Photo Credit: Words Incite Deeds (Canada)