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Andrea Hubert: Week review

| Comedy, Festivals | 22/08/2016

Andrea Hubert

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Hubert delivers a refreshingly sardonic debut show, providing a whole lot of laughs against the back-drop of an important journey towards managing mental health issues.  

Early on, Andrea Hubert says that her show is about a nervous breakdown, which marked her lowest point but provided a springboard to dealing with her long-standing mental health issues.  Then she manages to make her unravelling seem funny, reliving sitting on the floor of a supermarket lobbing cherry tomatoes at the check-out girl who crossed her with a catty comment and request for ID.  Unlike some sets at this Fringe, it’s already clear to the crowd that depression provides the backdrop to, rather than the main focus of, Hubert’s show.  This is vital in making Week a heavily and refreshingly sardonic comedy, not a therapy session.

With a confident but collaborative style, Hubert takes a critical aim at much of society – including herself.  Few are spared as she narrates stories from before going on anti-depressants: women who dress in white “confident they won’t eat clumsily today”, smugly pregnant mothers, the ‘talentless’ rock act at a neighbouring venue who occasionally threatens to drown her out.  Realising the put-downs come from Hubert’s own vulnerability, they’re easy to get onboard with even in the setting of an (inevitably less raucous) afternoon performance.

At times, the well-spoken comedian moves into edgier territory, such as throwing in a holocaust joke and questioning whether she’d been bestowed with the power to suck the cancer out of penises.  Some of these work better than others, but Hubert’s ambition is admirable.  The only wrong turn is an attempt at improvised audience participation which gives her insufficient scope to display her wit.

But some imperfections are to be expected.  This is Hubert’s first hour-long show, representing an extremely promising start.  With a calm authority, she delivers a well-written act that addresses an important topic and encourages those suffering similar symptoms to get medical help, without – as she hoped when we spoke – seeming preachy.

Hubert even admits there can be downsides to her ‘life-saving medication’: she feared that chemically-induced numbness would permanently replace her capacity to experience enjoyment.  And then, with hilarious schadenfreude, Hubert signs off by wickedly explaining how she dispelled this myth at the expense of her young niece.

Andrea Hubert is performing Week at 15.45 until 29th August at Gilded Balloon @ The Counting House.  Get tickets here.

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