Will Franken: Things We Did Before Reality, Just the Tonic at The Caves, Edinburgh


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The Independent Culture

San Franciscan Will Franken provides the most whistlestop character comedy that you’re likely to see at the Fringe this year.

A physical mix between a character from ‘The Sopranos’ and one of The Munsters, the 39-year-old rattles off a series of vignettes around the American cultural and political landscape, from the hick who believes the sun is a UFO to the business guru who explains that diversity means profit, noting that “even lesbians have money” .

The products of Franken’s imagination are fired by a kind of vaudevillian neurosis; in a chatshow scenario, playing several characters, he is reminiscent of the Zucker brothers: “Let me talk to my first guest...no, my last guest...”

The calvacade is cartoonish in nature, lying somewhere between the offhand ease of ‘The Simpsons’ and the chaotic range of ‘Family Guy’. Unlike the schizophrenic momentum of the latter, Franken’s skits rarely get tied up in a cacophony - even when he is embodying an anachronistic American prostitute mingling with her Victorian predecessors, on the lookout for Jack the Ripper while waiting for a condom delivery. Franken is carrying some of the best traditions of American humour in his material, conveying some deft concepts along the way.

Until 26th August, 0131 226 0000