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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Fran Moulds: Sgnificant Human Error
Debut solo show from BBC Radio 4 comedian, Fran Moulds, featuring six original characters, including Dan Riley, a horndog theologian, Ryan, a base-jumping Aussie legend, Morgana Haught, the celeb correspondent for a liberal broadsheet, and Sarah, the teenager from Bolton who’s just converted to Islam. Not controversial.
Fran Moulds: Fringe 2012
Fran Moulds' solo debut is not a bad show by any means – it’s just not very funny.
It’s a rare problem for a comedian's characters to be too believable but that’s the case here. Moulds (best known as one of Radio 4 sketch team Umbrella Birds) spends too much time drawing her creations, shading them and giving them depth – and not enough time considering what purpose they serve in a comedy show.
A tour guide for a disused Welsh mine starts off promisingly, going through her spiel in an amusingly unnecessary range of languages. But then the audience is left sitting in the dark listening to her babble over a PA system about her dead husband.
The dippy West Coast creative writing tutor who proclaims that there are only seven stories in the world seems nothing more than showcase for Moulds’ admittedly impressive acting abilities, ditto the macho Aussie basejumper who botches the presentation intended to secure backers for his adventure DVD. Yes, Moulds is good at accents but so what?
A leather jacket-clad theologian whose passion for his subject is eclipsed by a passion for his students is brilliantly realised however, and one of the better examples of Moulds’ knack for subtext. His desperate attempts at being cool and his awkwardly revealing catchphrases make him a stand-out character.
Many of Moulds' characters seem driven by repressed disappointment and anger, from the intense Bolton teenager telling YouTube about her conversion to Islam, to the self-loathing broadsheet journalist with a classics degree who laces her sneering columns about celebrity tittle-tattle with references to Goethe. It's an engaging world view not dissimilar to Julia Davis’ warped black brilliance but as dark as Davis’ comedy is, it is still comedy – this isn’t.
These are interesting characters, thoughtfully written, but they seem the stuff of drama.
Perhaps Moulds’ talents would be better suited elsewhere. There’s no disputing this is an accomplished and elegant show but this supposed character comedy is suffering from an identity crisis.
|Date of live review: Monday 27th Aug, '12|
Review by Nione Meakin
A curious review, with a surprisingly one dimensional perspective on comedy. I expect better. For me, Moulds' show is dark and clever humour of the finest kind. It does not have a broad or mass appeal, but is deeply and truly comic.
This is a damn classy act, so good, why is no one going crazy about this? Subtle and smart as hell, this girl could be HUGE
Got back from Edinburgh today - think this was my favourite show. Really funny, brilliant transformations, excellent characters
Really enjoyed this show! Loved all the characters.
Saw this yesterday and was really surprised – it was fantastic – funny and clever, couldn’t recommend it enough. The nutty story teller was so funny.