Will Franken: The Stuff They Put in Sleep

Seamlessly shifting between a medley of characters at an alarmingly fast rate, Will Franken’s caustic satire at times verged on the unbalanced, crazed side of affairs, but beneath the surface he was always in control.

Aware of the banality, hypocrisy and superficiality of contemporary culture, it seemed our indomitable host took comfort in retaining his integrity through his disenchanted, academic act.

As this comedian raced through a pastiche of people, politics and perspectives, it was hard to keep up at times, but the fury, focus and fervor that he delivered his performance with kept the audience engaged from the very start. Whether it was aiming criticism at the venue, or the state of Scottish independence and lack thereof, the vitriol spewed by Franken was never-ending.

Whilst this did make for interesting viewing, his cynicism also proved to be his downfall. There is no denying that Franken’s performance held a degree of self-superiority that alienated himself from the audience, perhaps suggesting that this cathartic act was more for his own enjoyment, than for those that had paid to watch him. Indeed, such is the level of complexity in his symbiotically-worked network of sketches and characters, it felt that a lot of his evident hard work and intelligence was lost on the crowd, which was unfortunate, as much of his content was still undoubtedly enjoyable to experience.

His interpretation of the Beatles as small-time performers in the shadow of rock and roll was excellently-executed, whilst his grotesque portrayal of Sigmund Freud was similarly well judged. Whilst one character dissects the formulaic requirements to receive a five-star review, it grows evident that Franken feels the very joke of comedy is on him. Aware of the banality, hypocrisy and superficiality of contemporary culture, it seemed our indomitable host took comfort in retaining his integrity through his disenchanted, academic act. Consequently, there were many occasions where Franken delivered substantial, profound instances of comedy, yet there were also too many moments that felt more personally inclined.

Reviews by Robert McGowan Stuart

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tommy Rowson: Down and Out in Powys and London

★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Marlon Davis: Once Upon A Grime

★★
Laughing Horse @ New Empire Bingo

The New Wave

★★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

The Horne Section: Milk the Tenderness

★★
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Spencer Brown

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Critically acclaimed surrealistic character comedian of myriad personalities unveils his latest rapid fire absurdist assault on the fragilities of human identity, platitudes of postmodern sanctimony, and presupposition of collective reality. An hilarious orphic descent into a depraved, unapologetic subconscious propelled by the manifold voices of one man. 'The darkness of Franken's imagination is like Chris Morris ... you can't take your eyes off these inspired outpourings' **** (Guardian). 'Absorbing, silly, and perfectly paced ... a stonkingly good performer' **** (Metro). 'Will Franken is a master of delusion, an id unchained' (Robin Williams).