Review by Miranda Michalowski
After seeing Freddie McManus open for Edan McGovern and then catching his solo show at the Sydney Fringe, I can now say I’m a certified fan. I was lucky enough to catch ‘Freddie McManus is Stoppable’ at the Factory Theatre on Wednesday night, and it was a delightful, well-structured and surprisingly moving show. A 2016 RAW Comedy finalist, McManus has been around the comedy scene for a while and recently performed in the sell-out hit 'Mystery Flight' at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. But 'Stoppable' is his debut hour, and after watching this punchy set, I can see why those shows were selling out!
McManus' show was on at ‘The Terminal’, one of the performance spaces at the Factory Theatre, inside a shipping container. While this might sound like a tricky set-up for a performer, it created an up-close and personal feel to the show, and the container was packed full of laughter.
Dressed up in a suit and tie, McManus launched into joking about how a child told him he had “lego-man hair”, and how his ex never wanted to introduce him to her mother, even though he’s the perfect sort of guy to introduce to your mum.
Mcmanus’ talent for crowd-work was pretty impressive, as he came up with punchy comebacks to audience members and was able to riff on their input without ever being insulting. There was never a moment where the comedian faltered or lost steam - his set was entirely slick.
I also enjoyed McManus’ bit about living in share houses, and how well-prepared our generation will be for the retirement home, (since it’ll be our 34th consecutive sharehouse). His bit about a former housemate who threw out all of the household cutlery on a whim was also a highlight of the show.
But McManus’ routine really hit home when at the end of the hour, he spoke about losing his father to COVID-19. He handled this topic with remarkable skill and sensitivity, as he gave the audience permission to laugh with him and share in his vulnerability at the same time. I was tearing up, even as I was laughing - and I could tell I wasn't the only one. It takes a skilled performer to strike this balance - and McManus is just that.
I can't wait to see much more from this talented Lego man.