Theatre Review: The "Frankie's" Experience is Ambitious and Hilarious
Frankie’s is a sitcom set in a bar, where the regulars become part of each other’s lives and we become part of theirs. Except it’s not television, its theatre, and it’s not heavily scripted with a laugh track added after - it’s all improvised, and the laughs are real. Over the next three weeks this genius concept from the brain of Libby Klysz is being brought to life at the Blue Room Theatre, with each night a new episode.
While each performance can be enjoyed as a stand alone episode, there is a series arc, and the characters grow and change over the season. A cartoonist (this week it was the talented Bryan Woltjen) documents the highlights of each night, the graphic record of which is displayed in the foyer so you can catch up on previous performances.
(Images by Daniel James Grant)
The characters are broadly painted and easily recognisable - the ditzy barmaid, the bartender with big dreams, the frustrated actor, the drunk, the neurotic. Immediately you feel an easy familiarity with them - after all, you are in the same bar, drinking the same whiskey (an excellent drop from Whipper Snapper Distillery). There are some obvious references to Cheers (a character with distinctly Niles-ish tendencies) and a record is kept on the chalk board of all the dumb shit that is said and/or done. There is some unresolved sexual tension to be explored, and the blonde barmaid has a hidden business acumen - but will she get to inherit the bar?
Musical entertainment is also provided by Alwyn Nixon-Lloyd and Robert Woods (the musical interludes are the best time to get up and grab a drink from the bar) and is also improvised. Guest appearances are expected from Perth singers and artists, including Ofa Fotu and Mathas.
This is ambitious theatre which is not to be missed - and can be enjoyed more than once. In fact I’ve already bought my closing night tickets. I need to know what happens to these characters! Frankie’s has the potential to become part of the collective consciousness of the Perth community. Make sure it becomes part of yours by buying a ticket (or two) here.