Alex Franklin: I Must Reach the Summit, Please God I Must Reach the Summit 2.5** - One4Review
one4review | On 26, Aug 2023
Alex Franklin presents an anarchic and raucous submission in support of their desperate desire to become the best comedian at the Fringe, if not in the world. They would love, they tells us, nothing more than for a member of the audience to keel over having died of laughter, and checks regularly to see if they’ve achieved this. Unfortunately, and despite Franklin’s commitment and skill, we all walked out of the venue under our own steam, this show being perhaps a little too anarchic and a little too incoherent to induce deadly hilarity.
Absurdism’s a fine line to walk. It may be futile to attempt to find meaning or order in the world, but absurdist comedy does require a little more reasoning that simply smashing two concepts together. There are lots of discrete elements in the show – the robot bee, the inscrutably violent mouse, theshadow puppets – and while interesting individually, they don’t hang together, but, crucially, they aren’t separate enough to be self-contained either. It’s a bit of an unhappy medium.
Franklin themself has good stage presence, albeit as a parody of a comedian dying on stage. The crowdwork is as off-kilter as the rest of the show, and that’s perhaps why we as an audience derailed things quite so much: we weren’t quite sure what they wanted. There’s promise and potential here, but it’s not fully realised in this show.
Reviewed by Laura