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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Review: Stranger to Hard Work is meticulously crafted

In our recent interview with comedian Cathy Jones, she revealed she was not a fan of the traditional comedy stand-up format. After watching her in Stranger to Hard Work it is easy to see why.

A blistering 70 minutes, Jones covers a multitude of topics, unapologetic and resplendent in her skintight leather pants and Kirk Cobain t-shirt. (Before anyone takes this review to task for mentioning her attire, it is important to remember it is now apparently okay to mention what a woman wears. One only has to look to the recent media coverage of the Duchess of Cambridge’s outfits under the guise of news).

Jones’ version of the stand-up format, in a self-confessed ADD fueled routine, she jumps from topic-to-topic.  From Facebook and relationships, to Tindr and Newfoundlanders, there is something that almost everyone in the audience can relate. She even sings, if only in a Rex Harrison sort-of-way. Fans of This Hour Has 22 Minutes are not forgotten, as Mrs Enid does make an appearance.

Like most stand-up, some jokes land easier with a segment of the audience – there was a definite skew to “women of a certain age” in the audience opening night – and at other times the jokes are universal. The single common thread is in Jones’ almost meticulous construction, and near perfect execution. There is a reason Jones, who is now “no-one-wants-to-have-you-sit-on-their-face-years-old”, has had a long career in comedy.

Having recently come off eleven days of Fringe, traditionally filled to the brim with one-person shows, it was refreshing to see how these types of shows can really can work. A combination of personal insights and characters, Stranger to Hard Work is funny and smart.

Stranger to Hard Work, written and performed by Cathy Jones. Directed by Ann-Marie Kerr. On stage at the Firehall Arts Centre (280 East Cordova St, Vancouver) until October 5. Visit for tickets and information.

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