For those who enjoy stupid humour (and maybe Reddit) and want to sit back for an hour of ridiculous jokes and easy, joyful laughs.
Oscar Merlin Griffin
Following the set’s opening number, Alex Franklin tells us to strap in, because “it doesn’t get any more normal from here”. This proves to be true over the next hour of standup merged with musical numbers, exceptional PowerPoint skills, shadow puppetry, and low-budget animal superhero cosplays.
Franklin has clearly honed her comedic technique, as she keeps the audience in the palm of her hand throughout, switching between gags deftly and including frequent recalls that keep you feeling like you’re part of an inside joke. Her self-awareness is utilised as she announces the sections of the set she knows are unpopular, but she’s going to do them anyway, because she likes them, and she’s better than you. They may then call an audience member “cringe” or a “cuck”. Everyone eats this up.
Her musical ability (she’s classically trained, she adds) and perfect slick timing with tech betray to the audience that the show is crafted carefully and deliberately, and any insecurity onstage is an act to lull us into a false sense of security. The songs introduce epic heroes and villains that have surely garnered a cult following, and their battles are displayed with the crudest of stock images on the PowerPoint behind them.
Some of the more outlandish elements of the show, like the Bamzooki promotional material, verge on straying too far from any kind of relatability for any audience lacking those specific cultural memories. However, Franklin's screenshot evidence of their real-life Twitter campaign makes this surprisingly entertaining. While baring her soul in the name of Bamzooki, Franklin still keeps us at arm’s length utilising fiction. An example of this is the "daddy issues" song detailing how their father wanted them to be a YouTuber, not an astrophysicist.
For those who want to watch Fringe comedy and feel clever, and pat themselves on the back for it, this is not the set for you. But for those who enjoy stupid humour (and maybe Reddit) and want to sit back for ridiculous jokes and easy, joyful laughs, I Must Reach the Summit, Please God I Must Reach the Summit is a fantastic way to spend an hour.
Alex Franklin: I Must Reach the Summit, Please God I Must Reach the Summit is on at Underbelly Cowgate at 15:55 until 27th August.