On stage, she cuts a figure the very quintessence of a young up-and-comer from Sydney: glamorous, brash, sharp-witted and cynical. She has a guitar and knows how to use it. She sings well and swears profusely. She jokes shamelessly about sex and the scatalogical. She shows just enough fragility so that you like her despite her bravado and indulges in enough self-mockery so that you don’t take that fragility stuff too seriously.
She is, in other words, very cool and on-trend as a stand-up. Some folk will like that and others will not. Fricker’s style works but it also feels like a style you can see on many other comedy stages in slightly different permutations and from other more or less likeable performers.
Fricker herself is pretty likeable and the mood in the room is positive. It does, however, often feel like the audience are waiting for the big pay-offs. Fricker gets the chuckles going easily but seems to be fighting to crack the big laughs.
Part of that may be in a conflict of attitude. Her too-cool-to-care stage presence feels like an act and yet much of her humour is asking you to take her at face value. Her show relies on stories of personal mishaps, including bad times at crummy jobs, disappointing sexual encounters and personal grooming accidents. All of these stories are amusing, in an OMG how awkward / gross / embarassing kind of way but without being able to get a fix on how honest Fricker is being with you, it’s hard to know how to take them. If she’s going for confessional comedy, you’d like her to be more herself, if she’s going to spin yarns, you’d want her to build the stories more.
Her songs, the other standby of her act, are usually short one or two gag ditties, often coarse, absurd or both. Here too, she could benefit from more development of her ideas. Her tendency, both speaking and singing, is to present something and then almost immediately dismiss it with a “whatevs” kind of attitude. Sometimes that’s funny but sometimes you’d like to see her stick with something a bit longer. Her breezy approach probably works very well in a short spot but over a full length show needs something more to hold it all together.
Party Pooper, which turns out to be more about pooping than parties, is a mixed bag of a show, a snapshot of a talent in development. Fricker certainly has the potential to develop a strong individual voice as a comic although she also has the potential to simply roll with fashion and you can see both potentials in this show.
Venue: Forum Theatre – Carpet Room | Cnr Flinders & Russell Sts, Melbourne
Dates: 28 Mar – 21 Apr, 2013
Tickets: $10 – $20
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013
Part of the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival