As the single stage light fades, a projection screen unscrolls and a high-intensity, satirical “journey to the show” intro plays. Jackson Herman and Nathan Roys make up the musical comedy duo Truly Friday and their future selves are determined not to let them go to the show. They will become too famous and ruin their relationship if they do this show. Through a series of hilariously cut together faux-action sequences, the fight off many dimensions worth of themselves and burst through the back curtains onto the stage. It’s a rip-roaring start to the show, and we’re laughing before they’ve even entered.
What follows is a series of excellent comedy songs interlaced with awkward and, at times, contrived segues. The songs are excellently premised and performed with precise comedic timing. From “Manic Pixie Dream Girls” to “Kill the Billionaires” to a holiday song in honour of crate day - not one fails to get a laugh, and some have the audience wheezing with delight.
The chatter in between is intentionally awkward and deeply self-aware. Herman and Roys have a delightful rapport with each other and the audience. That lounge gig feel continues as they happily name audience members by name. It feels like we’ve been invited into their living room and I feel very much at home here.
If I am looking for anything else from this show, it’s possibly some more musical variety. While the premises of the duo’s songs are hilarious and clever, after 60 minutes I am finding the sound a little one-note. A couple of genre-piece songs would help mix it up and keep things fresh. Give me some hip hop, some funk, a satirical country song. Whatever floats the Truly Friday boat just to keep us on our toes.
I’m going to keep this review brief because the show was great. In fact I’ll say it. Get ready boys, you can pop this on your next poster. Are you ready?…Truly Friday are 2023’s answer to Flight of the Conchords. Yup. I said it. Quirky, awkward, clever, overtly self-aware and always funny. The title of this show is Before They Were Famous and it would not surprise me one bit if that statement proves to be true.
Truly Friday - Before They Were Famous closed on March 4th at the New Zealand Fringe Festival. You can follow their future work on Facebook or Instagram.