Three guys and a guitar has been a staple of musical comedy over the years so it’s important to differentiate your trio from what has come before. In the case of Suns of Fred (Sly, Micky J and Foxy), they have crafted a show with high energy dancing and choreography that’s tighter than a duck’s rear end. Even though they can sing up storm, it’s a shame that their attention to detail in the songs didn’t match that of the dancing.
Although there was the odd amusing line to be found and chuckles of recognition to be had through parodied song-lines, most of their tunes were one joke songs that often read like a laundry list of mildly amusing words thrown together to fit the theme. Thankfully most of the songs were relatively short thus reducing the tedium. The theory of the guitar being an automatic applause machine sadly held true here as each song ended with overly-flourished bows awaiting our Pavlovian response.
There were plenty of lewd lines to titillate and homoerotic innuendo, but their lyrics and banter were ham-fisted and lacked any finesse. When attempting to go to some dark places, they were quite crude and blunt; being shocking for the sake of it. These lines stopped a song dead in its tracks as the audience audibly recoiled at the abhorrent nature of it with a smattering of nervous laughter. They didn’t attempt to soften the blow with a witty comment, usually just ploughing on with the rest of the song.
Other times it was Foxy’s series of one liner Dad Jokes set to music that successfully played on his character’s lack of wit and provided nice little quiet interludes. A mimed rollercoaster ride, also set to music, was an amusing highlight that didn’t overplay things too much.
Where Suns of Fred excelled was in the dancing and miming that provided the most humour. Their dance moves were flawless, constantly mugging for the crowd and faux harassing the girls in the front row. The running joke of Excited! high energy dancing was cute but only gave us titters of embarrassment. Synchronised hand actions to the song lyrics provided laughs where the words failed to.
From their matching hand decorated vests and funky haircuts to the character tropes (the dim one, the dangerous one and the pretty one), everything screamed “We want to be edgy and dangerous just like the Doug Anthony All Stars!” This trio even pulled out the done to death “band break up on stage” routine but didn’t do anything amusing, let alone original, with it. It got all the appropriate pantomime responses but the biggest laugh came from an audience member’s comment rather than anything they did.
There were a number of punters who were getting off on the boy’s shtick, laughing heartily throughout. If you’re in the mood for some simple puerile comedy with lots of colour and movement, this would be the perfect musical comedy junk food. However if you fancy something more substantial you’d be advised to look elsewhere.
Suns of Fred is on at Five Boroughs until April 19