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Edinburgh Fringe 2014

RIchard Fry: Pop Life

Richard Fry

Genre: Storytelling

Venue: Gilded Balloon


Low Down

"Internationally acclaimed performer Richard Fry (Bully, Smiler, Unbeatable Hearts) returns with a brand new show. This time the emphasis is on fun as he tells stories about his time in the entertainment industry."


Richard Fry becomes our host for the hour – a storyteller, songster, comedian and raconteur. He invites us doubly backstage – into the green rooms of pop stars before gigs, and also into the dressing room and backstage areas of his own life. Self-deprecating, vulnerable, occasionally brutally self-honest and often touchingly funny, he weaves these personal reflections into tales that range from crazy cat rescues to selfie urination. No more will be given away about a very word-packed hour. I didn’t lose interest for a second.

If I have one bug bear with this pleasingly entertaining hour, it is that the blend of improvised banter with sometimes tightly scripted delivery makes some of the storytelling feel too theatrical. Here Fry the actor needs to get a bit out of the way of Fry the free spirited story relator. Is it theatre, is it stand-up? It can’t always decide and it doesn’t always feel that he has consciously decided not to decide.
There are some terrific payoffs to some of he stories and we are certainly glad to share this time with such an accessible person. I wished he wasn’t "up there" on stage but "down here" cabaret style. It is a testament to Fry’s skills that he still manages to reach us all with ease, draw us in, and ensure the laughs match the interest inherent in the story. A big story with many smaller ones within, Pop Life taps into pop history as experienced by a never-was who wishes he was now at least a has-been. At the heart of it is a poised and skilled storyteller.
Charismatic, well crafted content, plenty of laughs born of life observation, wit. and the warped world of pop culture. Oh, and cats. Lots of rescued cats….