Viral sensation Laura Ramoso does her live show FRANCES after conquering Instagram and Tiktok with her character sketches, with the highly anticipated German Mom and Italian Dad being based on her real life parents. This is a miscellaneous show with no particularly overarching theme, aside from outlandish characters. FRANCES compiles different comedic sketches, mixing her social media classics with other new characters. One particular sketch, with deftly performed audience-based improv and a stronger storytelling rather than character quality, gets developed multiple times throughout the run-time and book-ends the show.
Laura’s outstanding performance and committed characterisation makes her creations come alive
As soon as the first sketch begins, all doubts of a seamless transition from social media to stage are cleared. Laura’s outstanding performance and committed characterisation makes her creations come alive. Multiple changes of costume help us imagine the characters, but these aren’t even wholly necessary, as Laura has a wide range of interpretation and truly transforms in each sketch. She has a strong stage presence and is a highly physical performer, giving different ranges of movement to every character, as well as remarkable and diverse accents.
Most of the stories and characters are not significantly original and often the predictability diminished the humour, even though most of the audience was fervently enjoying the show. When Laura lets the stories and personalities unfold in a surreal and silly way, her sketches become truly surprising and hilarious, and watching her switch from relatable to unhinged is fascinating.
German Mom is the most unique character of the bunch, with keen observation that has materialised in a character that is simultaneously stereotypical and incredibly particular - she is intoxicating to watch, especially when she engages with the crowd. Italian Dad is slightly reduced to a more simplistic stereotype of a generic dad. The social media version, completely spoken in Italian with subtitles, was more innovative and engaging, and somewhere in transporting this character to the stage its essence was diminished. It would’ve been bolder to see the character speak in Italian, supported only by Laura’s outstanding physical performance talents.
Laura Ramoso is an incredibly talented performer and writer, with unique characterisation and physicality. I am intrigued to see more of her weird side and the surreal places that her characters can reach with the bolder writing that she is clearly capable of.