Review: Frieda Loves Ya! – Suky Goodfellow

Show: Frieda Loves Ya!

Venue: Underbelly

Star Rating: ***

Reviewer: Suky Goodfellow

Frieda Love presents a light-hearted cabaret-style romp, with touches of burlesque and whimsical musical numbers.

You feel in safe hands watching Frieda, as she is a great performer who knows how to handle an audience. Her expressions often got the audience chuckling in quiet moments. The kitsch tea shop aesthetic to begin with was unapologetically pink and cutesy, swapping tassels for tea bags for a burlesque dance. You could read it as a strident celebration of high-femininity. (Mind you, it was supposed to be a delicatessen. I assume this was artistic license due to the fact that ‘delicatessen’ is an entertaining word to say, because fondant fancies are certainly not found in a delicatessen!)

The burlesque dances dotted throughout the show were quirky, with clever costuming and some of the highlights of the show. ‘The only reason people come to see my shows is they wanna see my boobs’, Frieda Love sighs near the beginning. A deserved dig at the audience, because there is more to Frieda Love. Her songs on the ukulele were funny and at times surreal and her acting and persona were engrossing.

This is not really a show you see for the plot though. I got rather excited by the idea there was going to be a plot when Frieda is invited on a quest, but this is not really developed into a proper structure for the show. We are told that ‘love is the answer’, but she never really develops what the question is. Telling us that things are pretty bad right now and dark forces are at work, alludes to the political situations we see in the world. And Frieda going on a march with a protest sign, backs this up. This is the Fringe, a little edginess would’ve offset the saccharine sweetness of Frieda Love’s main persona. A couple of occasions of unexpected dark humour – ‘This is a song about my sister’s dead horses’ – were appreciated by the audience. A little more of this could’ve helped the balance and pacing. There were too many moments where the show was just meandering around.

I like Frieda Love, but the ‘Revo-love-tion’ could have done with a more solid structure, rather than having to be carried entirely by its charismatic leader.

© Suky Goodfellow

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