Celebrated comic Tim Ferguson greets the Comedy Festival not with a side-splitting show, but a poignant recap of a stellar career - which, at the end of the day, emerges just as rewarding. Carry A Big Stick does have its funny moments, certainly, but for the most part it sees Ferguson, a humble man, recall his rise to prominence and subsequent struggle with personal adversity.
The scale of Fergusons' importance to Australian comedy will most likely have eluded younger audiences, which in one sense casts Carry A Big Stick as an enlightening experience. Ferguson lays bare his life on tour as a Doug Anthony All Star, as well as his success as a television network personality. Perhaps most important, however, is Ferguson's honest and fearless account of his battle with Multiple Sclerosis. His ability to remain optimistic and lighthearted concerning even the most bleak aspects of his journey is commendable. An engaging show, Carry A Big Stick flits without notice from being funny, to touching, to downright serious.
Quite obviously, there is no closure in Ferguson's tale, which may unnerve audiences slightly. That's the point, though: Carry A Big Stick is potent in its poignancy, rendering it more than your average comedy festival show. Recommended.