Here we go with the final entry of Woodley Week. Don’t forget that there are double entries for the competition up for grabs on this post, which is a review of the DVD being given away, Bemusement Park.
In my review of Woodley a couple of days ago, I repeated a couple of times how it illustrated the range of Frank Woodley as a performer, with its heartfelt edge. Well Bemusement Park is yet another example of his range, this time delivering a more ‘straight’ stand-up routine, full of observational jokes and the weaving in of hilarious tales from Woodley’s real life. The previous stand-up shows of Woodley’s that I had seen as a solo performer were not like this at all. They were long, ambitious one-man narratives. Here the construction is him standing and delivering jokes. And he is really quite good at it. That is not to say that every joke hits home with the audience in attendance. But the ones that fall flat provide some of the funniest moments, as Woodley is a fantastic improviser and riffs on these jokes that didn’t work. It is clear that he is still polishing the overall show, but he is open about this fact and shares the polishing of it with the audience. For someone who has not done a whole lot of this style of comedy (at least to my knowledge) Woodley has wonderful comedic timing and pacing.
This is not to say that Woodley has abandoned his former silly self entirely. The set opens with probably its silliest moment as he attempts to extricate himself comically from a Cathy Freeman circa 2000 Olympics style running suit. It’s no spoiler to say that he gets a little stuck whilst doing so. It is also nice to see Woodley showing off his musical gifts once again too. Some years ago, Lano and Woodley did a tour entitled Sing Songs and released a CD of the same name. These hilarious songs showed the musical ability of them both and it is great to see Frank whip out the ukulele and guitar at various points throughout this show. He really does have a lovely voice and is a great crafter of sharply funny songs too. Overall, despite slowing a little over the second half, this performance probably got the most out and out belly laughs out of all the Woodley Week entries from me.
Bemusement Park is a great way to finish off Woodley Week, because it shows off even more of the man’s talents. The jokes are taut and well crafted, not just throwaway lines or observations. He is just such an over the top extrovert and brilliant comedian, and much of that is on show here. And where else would you get to see a man pretending to be a chimpanzee pretending to be a meerkat?
Verdict: Pint of Kilkenny
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