Freddie Farrell: Today was a total waste of makeup

Sat 8th – Sat 29th August 2015


Poppy McLean

at 00:42 on 19th Aug 2015



Freddie Farrell’s Fringe venue is one of the nicest I’ve had the pleasure laugh in. Tucked away at the back of the Dragonfly pub (sorry, “cocktail lounge experience”), the light, cool room complete with chandelier and the odd comfy sofa made for a congenial environment for our select audience of around 10 – think a cross between a swanky hotel reception and a friend’s living room. It is not because I am a closet interior design fetishist that I begin with the show’s furnishings rather than its substance, but rather because I think the two have a great deal in common: while Farrell himself came across as extremely likeable, his comedy was ultimately pretty ‘comfortable’, too: perfect for those fresh from the pub and keen to laugh along for a free 45 minutes, but not necessarily containing much strikingly brilliant enough to draw crowds from much further afield.

Farrell’s great strength was in putting the audience at their ease: his casual, matey delivery really drew the crowd’s interest and encouraged them with him into his tales of life’s oddities. Unfortunately I missed the odd sentence as sense was marginally lost to speed, which gave the impression on occasion that Farrell was racing to get all these stories off his chest as quickly as possible, and even prevented him from allowing some of his best lines space to breath, but generally a good balance was struck between naturalism and clarity. The delivery could also perhaps have been a bit more varied in general to ensure audience focus was kept throughout, but frequent eye contact helped greatly in this direction. Overall, he came across as genuine and amiable, making it easy for his listeners to care about his stories.

As these tales went, Farrell was skilled in picking out amusing details from his narrative nuggets, describing a slapstick gym scene and an atypical gunfight with especially memorable style. Some lines were even hilarious – I won’t give them away, but the comedian produced a few unexpected ‘twists’ which got laughs all round, of which I would have loved to hear more. However, it must be said that there were very few really hilarious events described or striking turns of phrase employed in the show; it appeared that that quite a significant portion of the performer’s occasionally bland patter could have been done without. Also, Farrell’s (frequently admitted) discomfort in sharing stories of a more sexual nature may have spread consequently to some of his audience.

This comfortable and likeable free show is worth a visit if you’re nearby, but it is perhaps not worth a long trip – or even a faceful of makeup – in itself.


Jenny Burton

at 11:28 on 19th Aug 2015



Freddie Farrell is exactly the kind of guy that you should never take home to meet your parents. Not shy of an awkward story, Birmingham-based Farrell is happy to spill the beans on his personal antics, from attempts to attend a gym to getting caught eating chicken naked. His 40 minute show steers the audience through a maze of sexual adventures and mishaps from the 32-year old’s life, leaving the audience to laugh more at him than with him.

Unfortunately for Farrell, his turn-out was not particularly impressive, but with drinks in hands, he did manage to get us going. He opened with stories of his children (particularly how he doesn’t like them very much) and an entertaining explanation of why his best friend is called Thick Nick. Although Farrell’s jokes were funny, his incessant need to rush through his material at the speed of light was frustrating for his audience who would have benefitted from the odd pause every now and then. A breath might also have prevented the comedian from his rising intonation at the end of every sentence that infuriates even the most relaxed of listeners.

Despite his rip-roaring pace, Farrell was hugely entertaining if only for the reason that you want to know what other antics he has managed to get himself tangled up in during his life so far. He is the kind of guy you imagine has a completely inappropriate story for every occasion and never quite knows when to filter his words. His vulgarity was fitting for a drunken recounting of past mistakes over a pint in a pub, but perhaps not a 40 minute set without any audience interaction. However, his thoughts on ghosts were certainly a highlight and it was only slightly unfortunate that the childless audience probably couldn’t relate as much as he would have hoped.

Although his biggest laugh followed a technical error with his microphone and his ending awkwardly trickled out as though entirely unprepared, Farrell is clearly an entertainer with no reservations. If you like your comedy raw, vulgar and reminiscent of an inebriated lad propped up at the end of bar shouting, “do you want to hear about this time when I...?” then this is the show for you.


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