Well Shane Adamczak has done it again.
His latest production with Weeping Spoon Productions, The Ballad of Frank Allen has just opened at Perth’s Fringe World. A strange and comic tale about a man who lives in another man’s beard; The Ballad of Frank Allen is a wonderfully funny and utterly charming work that will surely prove to be a huge hit.
When some scientific equipment activates whilst he’s cleaning it, Frank Allen gets miniaturised and spends the next 521 days living inside the beard of affable slacker and hopeless romantic Al, played by St. John Cowcher. Despite its strange sounding premise, at its heart this is a show about friendship (albeit unconventional), and about how the easy route isn’t always the best route.
St. John Cowcher impressed as Al. Sure the character is a bit of a fuck up, but in the hands of Cowcher; he is a likeable and charming fuck up who you can’t help but root for. There is a great chemistry between Cowcher and Adamczak; and clearly working together in the improvisation comedy troupe The Big HOO-HAA! has paid off – as I’m pretty sure there were a few moments throughout the show that weren’t planned and neither performer really knew about.
The Ballad of Frank Allen has all the hallmarks of Adamcak and Weeping Spoon show. It plays with clichés and tropes, without itself feeling clichéd, it has that goofy humour and most importantly it’s got a sweet self penned soundtrack – including in this instance a wonderful Irish drinking/break up song that I’ve still got stuck in my head.
The set design and dressing was pretty minimal, with changes in lighting and sound used to signify changes in location or action. Sure it means the audience needs to use a bit of imagination, but that’s not a bad thing. And really it’s not really too hard to suspend disbelief with this show; frankly the fact that a tiny man was living inside another man’s beard seemed perfectly normal by the end of the show.
The Ballad of Frank Allen is a brilliant and quirky comedy, a nice little nod to the buddy comedies of the 80s and ultimately an utterly entertaining trip to the theatre. Do yourselves a favour and go see it before the rest of the run sells out.
The Ballad of Frank Allen is presented as part of Fringe World and is on at The Blue Room Theatre until 20th February. For more information and tickets visit here.
Weeping Spoon are also crowd funding to help take the production to the Adelaide Fringe, for more information on that and to contribute visit his indiegogo page to help out.