Brighton Fringe 2019
After selling out their first run at the Brighton Fringe, the Fannytasticals returned for three extra dates. This 5-piece ensemble, bring an energetic, brash, rude and challenging take on womanhood to an enthusiastic audience. It is not for the easily offended.
After selling out their first run at the Brighton Fringe, the Fannytasticals returned for three extra dates. This 5-piece ensemble, bring an energetic, brash, rude and challenging take on womanhood to an enthusiastic audience.
So, sending a middle-aged man to review the show is a bit of a bold step. Short story, I really enjoyed it.
Long story. Fannytasticals are a group of talented writers and performers, in their 20’s,30’s and 40’s producing a high energy, full on show about female identity, gender issues, life and bodily fluids held together through song, dance, poetry and lots and lots of jokes.
They certainly push the taste boundary, it’s no mean feat to make an audience laugh in revulsion, something they managed on several occasions. One learns a lot about biology, reproduction and the inner mental narrative of doubt, uncertainty and insecurity from a female perspective.
The show is constructed around a series of popular songs, where the lyrics have been adapted to highlight various aspects of female life. The songs are packed with smart gags, biting satire and clever rhymes. Although not the best singers in the world they are well delivered, hitting their marks.
Between songs there are a series of excellent comedy sketches, which are well-acted and squarely hit the nail on the H. There’s a strong mix of parody and subversion in the comedy, with the Mastermind sketch being an example of brilliantly executed satire.
Highpoints included Queen’s take on the misery of babies and motherhood, mums sex life, a poem about becoming your mum, confession, ‘Rocky’ sperm and an alternative alternative therapist. The last one being very appropriate for Brighton.
The audience laughed, cheered, applauded and cringed at all the right points. The crowd was enthusiastic, many of whom were already fans and were fully on board with the feminist message. The provocative, ‘in your face’ style clearly striking a cord with the fans.
As for the handful of men in the audience, they also appeared to enjoy the show. Although they aren’t the natural audience for the Fannytasticals, making them laugh repeatedly is a testament to the quality of the comedy.
There are one or two small points that stop the show from getting top marks. Some gags had predictable punchlines (e.g. the adoption sketch). One or two sketches, such as Fitbit, have weak punchlines.
The material and the language mean this is not a show for the easily offended. Mostly the swearing fits in well, enhancing the gags and demonstrating the independence of the performers. On the downside there are several points where the joke simply becomes a young woman saying ‘Fuck’. That, in its-self, shouldn’t be the bit that makes it funny.
But these are small criticisms, in what is a very good show.
As a middle-aged man I came away with better understanding of how women talk and think about their bodies. It’s completely different to a man’s view. There seems a more personal relationship to internal biology, bound to state of mind and identity whereas men tend to a more mechanical, and objective view of their physicality.
To sum up, I laughed a lot and that should be the first goal of any comedy. Although, Fannytasticals draw a primarily female audience, the quality of the material and the performances make the show work for both genders. Hopefully more men will make the effort to see the show, it deserves better than ‘preaching to the choir’. I look forward to seeing this talented group again.