3 / 5 Stars
“It’s the most sweatiest time of the year,” Friz Frizzle cries out as he energetically kicks off his quality debacle of parody and laughter. Ahead of his more polished Fringe show Heaven Knows I’m Friz Frizzle Now, Songs From the Spare Room is a more ragged, in-the-moment show that allows you to catch the award-winning comic at his most experimental.
The show is not for children or racist elderly relatives, so we are warned, as his satirical finger-poking at celebrity culture is full of strong language and a disregard for formality. Frizzle is energetic, inventive and beautifully crass. His catalogue of song covers leave you grinning from ear to ear, an absurd reworking of Mr Brightside proving to be a particular highlight. His constant interaction with the audience over the live stream is endearing, helping to rekindle some of the Fringe spirit that risks being lost in 2020.
Frizzle has a particular obsession with swear words (just because they’re funny) and Christmas, the latter of which seeming like a strange choice of motif in the baking summer heat. But Frizzle’s strangeness is a strength he milks well, his at times frantic method working well. His light-hearted digs at the darker sides of celebrity culture can also be a treat, as are his passing anecdotes about his time as a performer (he plays a song that got him thrown out of an Edinburgh venue several years ago). His reworking of a Mary Poppins classic to talk about celebrity injunctions will stick in your head for quite some time.
Sometimes the seemingly on-the-spot thinking means the show lacks fluidity, but that’s not really what you’re looking for. If you’re not receptive to his approach then the songs may start to lose you before the end of the show – “they’re just getting worse and worse,” he admits, not really doing himself justice. He can be – and has been – more refined, but an unfiltered, unedited Friz Frizzle can still be a lot of fun.
Words by James Hanton.
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