Until 20 Mar 2021

Review by Lance Jones

It’s not often that one walks away from a show saying, “what the hell did we just watch?” Yet, that’s exactly what the punters were saying to themselves between residual laughter as they left The Lark after the truly confusing yet energetically hilarious show “Absolute Riot!”.

It’s impossible to characterise this show by way of genre, but one must try. “Cabaret”? “Burlesque”? “Musical Theatre”? “Stand-up”? Yes, all of the above and more.

The indefatigable Miss Friby enters the stage on a fake boat, musing philosophy in an existential flurry about being blown by the wind. What happens next was not expected. Exploding into a fit of very physical dance, the show takes us through a series of vignettes exploring a number of modern vagaries. “You will get the urge to reach out and touch me” she says in an attempt to explain her awesomeness, “but that’s against the law”. So, on went the show without any physical reaching out, but with plenty of other weird yet lawful action, as she expertly gyrated about the stage initially dressed what at first glance looked like a Brillo pad. Yet, that was just the start. There was much more to come.

Miss Friby is a very good mover. Her “fake gumby” moves actually take style and skill to do well, both of which she obviously has in spades. There is a special kind of place in the lore of burlesque and cabaret for someone who can one-minute look elegant and stylish, and then the next look like a total dag, all the while executing expert cartwheels and splits. Her style is vaguely reminiscent of a 21st century version of Lucille Ball, complete with the zany off-beat humour, rubbery facial expressions and a wonderful sense of the ridiculous. Her comic timing is perfect, enhanced by the her faux-pathetic sidekick reminiscent of Aunty Jack’s “Thin Arthur”. The two work perfectly together.

The parodies of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” and Corey Worthington’s newsworthy partying were very cleverly done. Her deliberate “accidental” mispronunciations were nothing short of hilarious and just kept coming, and the constant frenetic costume changes were impressive.

Miss Friby is clever, hilarious, cerebral and an excellent mover. This show is an “absolute riot” that you need to see to believe for yourself. You may not work out exactly what it is, but you will love it!

Rating 4.5 stars (out of 5)