Alice Fraser’s kindness immediately hits you like a warm hug: as her audience filter in she’s chatting, pointing out the air conditioning (a small fan that she’s bought herself) and offering up the backstage bathrooms.
Wonderfully funny and devastatingly poignant, Savage is a show that really could change the world.
You soon realise that her gentle charm has been finely honed her whole life, that her mum was diagnosed with MS before she was even born, that she has slowly lived her life watching her mum die. This is not the show the Australian comedian intended to write, she explains. She envisaged uplifting silliness, but then her mum passed away.
The show she has written instead is not a eulogy, nor is it an elegy, but a tragi-comedy. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry... or sob, in my case. And most importantly, it makes you think.
Fraser takes us from innocent crushes to art therapy classes; from her mum’s illness to religious existentialism; from a banjo song to dating tips; from how teeth are really quite weird to her mum’s death.
The humour flips from concise punch lines - a joke about her Buddhist upbringing brings a riotous laugh – to embarrassing anecdotes and whimsical tunes. One moment we listen to a recording of her late mother, the next she pretends her banjo has a philosophy degree. The atmosphere is acrobatic, Fraser’s story-telling is charismatically compelling and her delivery is flawlessly paced.
If you’re in need a pre-night out pick-me-up this show isn’t it, but we all have that disclaimer at the beginning. That is the joy of it – immediately honest and beautifully personal. Separated from the Three Sisters’ ‘ambient douche’ noise by a piece of fabric, Fraser battles through the hubbub and cuts to the very heart of life, death and love.
This is stand-up like you’ve never seen it before. Wonderfully funny and devastatingly poignant, Savage is a show that really could change the world, or at least the way you choose to see it. Not only does it need an appreciative audience, it definitely deserves a door.