Frehd the Clown AKA Clownie: Stripped Bare

By Lisa Clark Frehd aka Clownie pic

Frehd Starr comes from Adelaide to her Melbourne International Comedy Festival debut already a legend in Melbourne comedy circles. As “Clownie Queen of Bongs” she starred in some of Justin Hamilton’s funniest standup routines and we did not know if she was made up. So here she is large as life and larger than life, not only living up to the legend but joyfully exceeding it in her amazing, hilarious late night sojourn Stripped Bare.

Frehd validate’s Justin’s nickname by greeting us with a post children’s clown debriefing and the appearance of a bucketbong. The first glimpse into her opposing, colourful and fascinating lifestyles. If this makes you a bit unsettled, in the words of Frehd “Strap Yourselves In!” Frehd is not about the safe way of doing things, she is a child of the 70s when helicopter parenting was unheard of and her own parents were particularly progressive. Stripped Bare is as bold, bright and audacious as its performer and the few audience participation elements are not for the demure. Notably though, all is done in good humour with warmth, care and with consent. When a chap indicated he didn’t really want to come up on stage she moved on to someone who was more keen with no ill will. It’s important to Frehd that we all have a great time.

Frehd was not born with her name, it was a nickname created by her parents and is one of many identities she has assumed during her life. The main theme that runs through her stories is how she keeps all of her personae very separate, and how above all protecting her children’s clown’s innocence has always been very important to her. Having seen her entertain children at Adelaide Fringe, it was not at all surprising to discover she can entertain a packed room of adults. Frehd is a delightful storyteller and is full of fun and surprises while she gradually delves beneath the masks and reveals her self. Of course there are things she holds back, hints at subjects that she veers away from. We can’t help but suspect we are getting the tip of the iceberg of Frehd’s life. Stripped Bare is certainly a dazzling introduction.

Frehd the Clown aka Clownie Stripped Bare is on at The Imperial Hotel until April 23