Talented and experienced though she is, it's difficult to escape the feeling that Jessica Fostekew's latest Fringe outing is a missed opportunity. It's funny in places, but the sparse chuckles don't outweigh the thinly stretched premise.
The Silence of the Nans is her personal tale of professional woe, detailing the consequences of her regrettable decision to accept a series of gigs on a cruise ship. The eponymous gerriatrics represent the main antagonists in her story, but her real enemies are the underwhelming anecdotes.
Unfortunate irony abounds here, mostly surrounding the fact that she's recounting an extended episode about an unreceptive audience... to an almost equally unreceptive audience. Deciding to perform on the ocean liner was ill-advised, but deciding to base her entire show around the subsequent events wasn't any less so. It's essentially the same joke repeated ad infinitum, incorporated into a structure that affords little payoff. The elderly vacationers didn't like her set, which is a shame, but she doesn't do much here to dispel the notion that their concerns were reasonable.
Her delivery is poised and professional, but she's lacking the spark that would elevate her material into something more engaging. The result is milquetoast, sombre even, compounded by the slow burning nature of her act to begin with. What she accomplishes in an hour could be achieved in half that, and she'd be better served by a format that showcases her knack for extended skits without running them into the ground. She's got far more to give, it's just frustrating that it's not on display here.