Live comedy
Frankie Boyle – Lap of Shame
Malvern Forum Theatre – 22nd November 2023

It is a given that Frankie Boyle live, much like suffering from syphilis, will deliver on your expectations…

In a manner similar to a tetchy teacher not teaching their specialist subject, the Boyle unleashed his act on a full-house. Indeed, a filled theatre that had handed over a not inconsiderable amount of money, to be harangued by the self-styled firebrand. The callow hecklers who believed they were a part of the equation soon realised that they should not have shouted out from the back of the class. Boyle’s coping strategy was straight forward and any supply teachers in the room must have winced at the familiar blunt approach. Obligingly, most of the audience clapped and laughed in unquestioning complicity. At least the security either side of the stage were not required.

Approaching any number of modern preoccupations our Frankie sallied forth. Starting with Capitalism, Branson was given both barrels by the comedian, metaphorically sawn-off of course. Later on in the act, when Boyle joked “he had the audience’s money, so it didn’t matter what we thought,” the irony was not lost…

The candid confession that the woman, who turned out to be a Nazi, Boyle had met on the internet over the pandemic was mined for all the humour he could cherry-pick. The punchline ensured he was personally at the centre of the joke. Philosophical to the end, Boyle even explored the notion that Hitler was in fact being ironic and was just misunderstood.

 In our society, class, and the impact of class has a profound effect. Guess what, Frankie boy had something to say about class as well. Involuntarily, I laughed out loud at the statement that all working-classes hate their bosses – this obviously is the sanitised version. For me the joke about the cleaners of the Twin Towers having a strong opinion on the outcome was one parts ersatz shock and one part self-conscious chuckle.

The Royal Family were subjected to a fusillade of one-liners that dealt with King Charles inflated digits, the Queens’s soft exit at her Jubilee and Prince Andrew’s…well, you know! Note-worthy were the three people who walked out during this final routine. Coincidence, or does this “rural back water,” “where you all stand around open fires in your costumes singing for the next crop of fruit” contain Royalists who had heard enough? Boyle, did not care…

Even when an audience member shouted out loud, “We love you Frankie”, the comedian still did not care.

Boyle, did care enough in his meandering show to explain that his act was just that, an act. “When Lee Evans comes out and falls around on the floor he is just acting…you know that don’t you?” Perversely, the one-liner that included his Father and Santa Claus did not capture the spirit of Christmas; still the laughter spread round the room like syphilitic sores from an unchecked STD…as the audience was in on the act.

By: Swilgate Scuttler

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