Written and performed by Freddie McManus
Reviewed by Justin Clarke
The Terminal – Factory Theatre
Sydney Fringe Comedy
Dressed in a polished suit and tie and armed with a microphone and quick-fire reactions, Freddie McManus was a resounding hit at the Sydney Fringe Festival. Entering with an immediate joke about his Lego styled hair, as told to him by a child, McManus powered through an hour of comedy that was a non-stop barrel of laughs.
Reminiscent of comedians such as Lee Evans and Peter Kay in his energy, British twang and humour, McManus cemented himself as a comedian deserving of a much larger venue than the shipping container he had. These were big stage laughs that were being had and the sold-out audience showed it. Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more room in the intimate Terminal venue, more audience members packed themselves in to listen to McManus’ stories.
What was most striking about McManus was his ability to react quickly to his audience and not make it feel like he was calling out a heckler. Inebriated audience members who were perhaps a tad too responsive in their subtle comments were caught by McManus, reshaped, and thrown back at them in zingy one liners and jokes that worked their way back into the story he was telling.
It took a joke or two for McManus to find his rhythm in the dense crowd, but once he was found it, the rest was smooth sailing. From pedantic comments about going up the coast to the Southern Highlands – “I work by altitude” – to the trials and tribulations of dating apps, there was enough humour to tickle even the most solid of funny bones.
A comedian that glowed with a slick professionalism beyond his years
The crunch of McManus’ routine came in the telling of his father’s passing. Albeit a sudden gear shift that felt completely unexpected, the audience felt ready enough to join McManus where he was leading them. With a swift reminder that he wasn’t ready to alleviate the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic with nicknames such as “the spicy cough” and other such nom de plumes, McManus journeyed us bravely through the struggles of watching a parent’s funeral via Zoom.
It was a credit to McManus that we felt comfortable to laugh at the situations he relayed to us, as each story was told out of the ridiculousness of the global situation and demonstrated his journey in the grieving process.
A comedian that glowed with a slick professionalism beyond his years, Freddie McManus may be stoppable, but his comedy will leave you with tears in your eyes and a giddiness in your step. Next time his name crosses your path, you best be quick when booking tickets before they sell out again.
You can find out more about Freddie by following him on Instagram @freddie.mcmanus