Frank Skinner’s Man in a Suit is two shows blended into one. Perhaps it’s two different comedians sharing a single body.
I’d been enjoying Skinner’s conversational style on various TV programs and his quick, insightful wit. It was with a degree of caution that Man in a Suit tickets were bought because although the TV banter had been good Frank Skinner’s early career stand-up routines had been very different. The EdFringe site suggests Man in a Suit has a “PG” suitability.
EdFringe’s suitability suggestion is wrong.
The first half of Man in a Suit is much better than the second half. We begin with “new” Frank Skinner. It’s a causal conversation laced with that sharp wit. There’s a bit of silliness in there to pep things up – random haiku, for example. Skinner paces the boards of the Assembly George Square Threatre and is at ease. There’s banter with the audience and no suggestion he might turn on you.
You can actually pin-point when the show begins to change. It’s Frank Skinner who makes a reference to his old style and how he’s changed. But he says this with a sly smile on his face.
It’s not a good turning point. The slow devolves back to traditional Skinner. This isn’t the comedian I knew. I’ll admit, it may be more in-line with his previous stand-up routines. Man in a Suit is Frank Skinner’s first live show, I think, in seven years.
We go from the quick witted observational humour and slide towards sex jokes ill-suited to the PG rating. It might be the case that Skinner’s mind set has gone on from his old humour. These jokes don’t land as well. You see them coming a mile away and he takes too long getting there.
It was the second half of the show in which people began to drift off. I’ve never seen so many people head to the door in any Fringe show. The couple in front of us left. At least that gave us a better view of the stage.
Man in a Suit is a 90 minute show. I think some of the people leaving the theatre did so because they’d been drinking before hand (Friday night) and simply needed to go the loo. They didn’t all come back. I think it’s also true that a few people might not have noticed the show was 50% longer than most comedy routines this year and had other shows to go to.
The shame is – Man in a Suit would have been much better as a 60 minute show. We would have had a higher ratio of new Skinner to old Skinner.