Photo – Garth Oriander
Frank Woodley is performing at the Brisbane Comedy Festival and he's got a sign, a big sign with his name spelt out in big letters, just in case you thought you were there to see someone else. There is no mistaking, it is Frank Woodley presenting what on the surface often appears to be his chaotically choreographed and yet beautifully awkward style of very funny physical comedy.
Bemusement Park is an apt title for Woodley's show as his topics range from the obscure, the absurd, the profound and even the rank (make note of the mention of 'rank' here as its relevance will become clear once you've seen the show). He leaps onto the stage in one of those Cathy Freeman-esque lycra running suits and within 30seconds, in an attempt to take the suit off, he has twisted his frame (for the sake of a laugh and a good laugh too) and got himself stuck inside the suit.
After a drawn out on-stage costume change and the kind of mental bee bopping Frank Woodley is an expert at, out of the blue he shares a factoid. He claims an Amazonian indigenous group has evolved a unique ability – they don't sweat. Be it true or false it doesn't matter because he sells it so well. Woodley takes his Amazonian fact and puts it into a context via his logic. Even though it's absurd and it seems like he's rambling, everyone is laughing because it's hard not to find Woodley's absurd ramblings funny.
On the other side of his silly antics Woodley slips in one or two comments that are honest and almost profound. His song on bullying and the boy with the large head, even with its punch line had some real poignancy. Frank tells us 'comedy is subjective', and while there's no new wisdom in that, it just means that while you might not find every moment of his show hilarious (because some of it might not be to your taste, i.e. his commentary on child birth or his plop circle story) you will find the majority of it very funny and well worth the price of admission.
Frank Woodley sums up his own performance best at the Brisbane Comedy Festival when he tries to explain to the audience the purpose behind his name, spelt out in big letters across the stage with the 'F' hanging haphazardly. It was meant to be "charmingly shambolic". Frank Woodley is 'charmingly shambolic' and it's what makes him and his comedy so very funny and endearing.
Brisbane Comedy Festival 2012
Venue: Brisbane Powerhouse
Dates: Thu 1 – Sun 4 Mar 2012
Tickets: $40 – $35