Producers Hotel
Until 10 Mar 2018

Review by Brian Godfrey

OK – as you walk in to see “The Ballad Of Frank Allen”, the first thing you notice is a janitor cleaning up around you (Spoiler alert: we discover later that he is Frank Allen); and then you notice a man with a beard (Second Spoiler alert: the beard is very important!) sitting on stage.

The first two minutes of the show have a distinct “What the…” factor about them until the man with the beard, whose name we find out is Al, speaks. He starts relating his life story of being a ‘Cheezy Meatz’ employee and being infatuated with Christine, a shop assistant in a bakery. Next, we meet Frank Allen, whom we now discover has been shrunk in that opening two minutes (ah, now it’s all making sense – sort of) and is living IN Al’s beard (well, where else is he going to go)!

This is a very funny and bizarre sci-fi/rom com/musical/buddy story performed with gusto by two excellent physically comedic talents, Shane Adamczak and St John Cowcher. The timing alone from these two performers shows how skilled they are in comedy, acting and movement.

This is one of those shows where you wonder how much is scripted and what exactly may be improvised, if any (although one suspects that the ‘corridor’ routine may change from performance to performance.

This is ideal Fringe fodder: it’s very clever, hilarious, pacy and brilliantly executed.

Weeping Spoon Productions and “The Ballad Of Frank Allen” were here for Fringe 2016 and have returned, which is very lucky for everyone – especially for those, such as myself, who missed out the first time.

Go see it – or risk being shot in the leg with a laser.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)