Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Hench means strong, fit, and having well-developed muscles. This is a powerful, in your face, riot of comedy delivered by an outstanding comic talent. Jessica Fostekew is Hench.
Jessica Fostekew bounces on to the stage, and straight into the show. There is no preamble. She tells us about herself, what Hench means and a bit about her message. The audience were on board from the start.
Whilst this is comedy from a feminist perspective, it hasn’t been written for the choir. She has cleverly made a show to challenge everyone. Jessica is an accomplished comedian, her delivery is polished and on point, crowd interaction is minimal and anyone brave enough to heckle is dispatched with alacrity.
She tells her stories with a refreshing honesty, the cast of characters are revealed for good and bad points. When she plays a part or adds an accent it’s well done. There are clever, well-crafted gags, sharp punchlines, changes in delivery speed and tone. There are puns, short stories, long form jokes and some clever word play all mixed in together, she even engages in physical comedy. Whilst this may sound like a chaotic list, the show is far from that. It’s slick, professional and well crafted.
Her imagery is well created, it’s easy to picture the horrors she describes. We sense the dark undercurrent bubbling away, equally it is clear Jessica is going to have nothing to do with its pull.
The show is delivered with energy and enthusiasm to a grateful audience. It is a welcome antidote to the male dominated comedy scene. Gender shouldn’t matter in rating a comedy show, it should suffice that the comedian is good, Jessica is.
It rattles along with speed, seeming less than its hour. At the end the applause is vigorous. There is a lovely mix of the political and the personal, delivered with pace and variety by a skilled comedian. Not only is Jessica Fostekew, Hench, we are all a bit more Hench. This show is recommended.