Come sit in a room. We’ll put the Fran on.
Sydney-based comedian Fran Middleton’s style of humour is a little bit weird. Part absurd sketch, part slapstick, and part nonsense stand up, Ceiling Fran is an hour of oddity and laughter. The show is staged in the glamorous front room of new comedy festival venue Tasma Terrace, the stage itself full of props and an elbow height screen, chairs packed tightly together.
Middleton is an intensely physical presence. She draws comedy from every eyebrow raise, every wicked smile. The elasticity of her facial expressions are an excellent foil by her flailing limbs. Her vocal control allows for the simple act of volume change to invoke waves of giggles from the audience. The laughter Middleton generates in her audience is like a river heading of a waterfall, a thick swirl culminating in gushes of giggles – not necessarily loud, but definitely constant. The content of Middleton’s straight stand up sections (or as close to straight stand up as she gets) is irreverent and random access, skipping between one liners and throwaway gags rather than longer form stories from her own life. There are a selection of musical jokes, children’s book references, and avocados.
Comparisons are often a lazy mechanism to review, but with Middleton it’s difficult to describe too much of her show without giving it away. Ceiling Fran is like Blue Jam’s gentlest sketches live on stage, performed by one woman in a turtleneck and a bum bag. If you’re after some pallet-cleansing absurdity this Melbourne International Comedy Festival, check out Fran Middleton. You’ll smile so hard your mouth hurts.
Ceiling Fran is on at Tasma Terrace at 8:15 pm until 8 April. Tickets are $20 and are available at the door or online.