The different eras of her life are distinguished from each other through effective use of AV. Projection runs through the bulk of the show, with charmingly crude parodies of different era/specific magazine covers. Unfortunately, likely due to venue difficulties, the projection is squished into the top right corner of the stage. I may just have rough seats, but my sightlines of the projection are slightly blocked by the lighting rig. Equally, some of the colouring of text renders it illegible to me at various points in the show, which is a shame as a lot of craft has clearly gone into it.
These magazine covers are a great example of my favourite part of Frigid, which is its attention to detail. Stent remembers the specifics of each different era she jumps through with remarkable specificity. Primary School, High School, and University all feel incredibly lived in, with my plus one and I frequently turning to laugh at one another when Stent described a specific lived experience that heavily related to one of us. A particular highlight is the way Stent captures certain, deservedly unsung, physical gestures of high-school romance.
For me personally, Frigid is at its least funny, at its most high concept. An early sketch where Stent ends up misinterpreting a Countdown notice board ad for a cleaner, as a hook-up request, leaves me completely mystified. While Stent’s composition of the scene is impressive, integrated well with a strong sound-scape, I find myself completely on the outside of it. Perhaps it’s because I fail to find an emotional in at the beginning of the scene, as it creeps more and more into absurdity, I find myself waiting for it to end and the next bit to begin.
The show also has a surprising amount of musical theatre jokes, something I find endearing as an outsider, even if they are often lost on me. I admire how weird this show is in places, and how content it is to occasionally alienate the audience in its idiosyncrasy. Stent understands that we don’t necessarily have to get every joke, as long as they are informing us to some extent about who she is as a person/character. She attempts to cash in on this emotional cache at the end of the show, with a somewhat surprising and moving emotional reveal. While I find it very resonant, I believe that’s largely due to personal reasons, and the place I’m at in my own life. I think the moment needs more time, and weight, to be properly explored, as currently it plays as somewhat rushed.
Still, Stent is clearly a very talented and experienced performer. She has an absurd amount of energy and range, and jumps between modes, and voices, with ease. While I had mixed reactions to the show, it’s certainly got its moments, and may very well work a lot better for you then it did for me. I get the impression it may very well be a wavelength kind of work, where if you get it, you get it. If nothing else, its observations of dating culture across different eras are both detailed and compelling.
The show is on for a few more days at BATS theatre, you can get tickets here - https://www.comedyfestival.co.nz/find-a-show/frigid/