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14th December 2018

A Flamingo Called Frank

Their performances involve real-life head shavings mid-show
A Flamingo Called Frank
Photo: A Flamingo Called Frank

What would you do in the name of comedy? Learn a few lines? Make a bit of a tit out of yourself in front of your mates? Maybe even forfeit your oh-so-edgy Fallowfield aesthetic? Well, A Flamingo Called Frank, Manchester’s hot pink boiler suit clad comedy troupe, are taking it one step further.

The group comprises five young comedians: Jordan, Joe, Simon, Luke, and Jimmy. All the boys are former or current members of the Comedy Society, with Jordan as the President this year. Jordan and Jimmy met in secondary school, but decided to band together with some other ComSoc members this year to form an “elite sketch group”.

“We sort of found each other in various ways,” says Jimmy, “we always thought the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was a bit inaccessible so wanted to start a little group to try and crack it.”

This definitely seemed to work, putting on a sell out (on one of nine nights, but shh) performance at the festival last year.

“So”, I ask, “why the name?”

They tell me that the name basically comes from a list of potential band names that Simon has, based on funny or slightly bizarre things that people say in conversation. They all had a look through, for some reason really loved the name Frank, and the idea morphed from there.

“It’s a very Fringe name,” they laugh. “The boiler suits came after — obviously bespoke Armani.”

I went along to their show, ‘Back to the Fuschia’, on Tuesday the 11th of December, for a little taster of what they’re all about. They started thinking about the show in October, but some of the sketches they used have been in the works a little longer. Performing bits and pieces in places like Solomon’s and Fuel, both in Withington, has allowed them to really put together their best ideas into one coherent show.

“It’s like our highlights, but with a bit more structure. We wanted our five different personas to be slightly meta, but also tie everything together.”

‘Back to the Fuschia’ was, as you may have already guessed, a sketch show with an interlinking time travel plot. Not only did this help keep the sketches light and bind the whole thing together very nicely, this also allowed Joe to show his commitment to the cause. How do you differentiate the past Joe from the future Joe? By a very rushed backstage head shave, of course.

Besides the obvious shock factor, the troupe have a genuinely very funny show — it’s well thought-out and well put-together. What’s nice and refreshing in student comedy is that they don’t take themselves too seriously, and aren’t afraid to make jokes that are so bad they’re actually good. For the most part, these jokes were well timed and well delivered, and although some of the floor-based humour was a little lost on those of us sitting near the back, this is something that hopefully, as their following grows, can be ironed out with a change of venue. Besides all this, there’s some great acting talent which promises good things for these guys. They want to go professional in the future, and judging by their performance in Back to the Fuschia, this is definitely a well founded ambition.

So, what’s next for A Flamingo Called Frank? They’re now looking towards Fringe 2019, and their performance will be their next big thing. But, if you’re looking to get a piece of the action, don’t despair — the group are also hoping to put on another bigger and better show at some point this year. If you want to keep up with their latest news, give them a like on Facebook.

“Keep an eye out for us, we’re very hard to miss. We’d like to say thank you to everyone that’s come to support us so far, it’s so important that students support independent comedy groups, it really means a lot. Most student groups will either do shows for free or very cheap, and you’ll have a great night out!”

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