Former 'Australia’s Got Talent' finalist Miss Friby, as a dancer, singer and vaudevillian, is a jack of all trades, master of some. A variety of factors, some beyond her control, meant her return to the stage after a year layoff was not an absolute riot, but it may be eventually as the season progresses.
A vaudevillian must read a room and feed off its energy. Sympathy needed to be had, then, for multi-award-winning Melbourne showgirl Miss Friby, as she took to the open air The Lark stage on a chilly Tuesday night after a 12-month hiatus. A small and smoky room warmed by a wood fire would have been more welcoming. While Friby is an adept vocal mimic capable of emulating Winehouse and Weimar who can seamlessly fuse physical comedy with modern dance, the comedic beats just weren’t landing on this night.
Part of this was intentional, as she stated herself early in the piece. A portion of her humour is of the Ricky Gervais in 'The Office' variety; cringe humour, shock gags, the deliberate creation of discomfort. As a clown, much of her flow also depended upon improvisation, which is obviously not a skill readily practised in the rehearsal room.
Image © Alexis Desaulniers-Lea
Given Friby and her partner on stage Scott Atkin’s experience and awards and the obvious talents on display in segments of the show, the opening night stutters are likely to be just the latest symptom of COVID.
Like our current political debate, this show is polarising and mostly resides on the extremist fringes, which is what the Fringe is all about, right?