Barry Ferns jumps onto the stage at the Komedia studio, jittery yet boundlessly enthusiastic. “This is the first time this show has been performed anywhere!” he announces gleefully, before launching into a fast-paced one hour comedic monologue.
Ferns’s previous show ‘The Barry Experience’ examined how the names we are given at birth affect our lives and our perceptions of others. For this new show, he broadens the scope to language in general, questioning how any of us, trapped alone in what he describes as ‘meat prisons’, can ever truly communicate.
Ferns is a key figure in the London comedy world, having helped set up Angel Comedy, originally a one night a week event which now occupies two London venues (The Camden Head and The Bill Murray) seven nights a week all year round. He is a vocation comic, passionate in his zeal for stand-up. All things considered then, it seems a shame he isn’t already a household name, though it’s rather nice for us to still (for now at least) enjoy the spectacle of a comedian of this calibre in such a small room.
Ferns is an engagingly self-deprecating yet confident guide, steering us through a show full of strong laughs built around personal anecdotes (nothing political here tonight, thankfully). Having opened the show with a brief mention of his mother, he saves a narrative sucker punch for the final moments, as he relates a frankly heartbreaking piece of family history which calls back to earlier moments in the show and forces us all, collectively, to reassess what we’ve heard so far. In a show about communication, it’s a masterful way to bring this warm, heartfelt performance to a close.
Komedia, Monday 7th May 2018