Grindingly obvious comedy with lame jokes fails talented cast
This article is from 2012.
Lingua Frank is supposedly a comic play but is really a sketch show, stretched to snapping point. The scant plot revolves around bumbling English Language tutor Frank (Harry Gooch), who has lost his girlfriend and is on the brink of losing his job. A script as thin as this requires some serious comic bolstering and the jokes just aren’t strong enough.
The performers deliver their punchlines with gusto and their obvious comic talent is underused. Gooch resembles a ginger-haired Stephen Mangan and has a similar delivery, understated but sharp. Charlie Hindley pours his considerable energy into playing Frank’s arch rival, Chest Armstrong, but even he flags as the script peters out.
The comedy revolves around silly characters rather than genuinely funny situations. Frank’s colleague, Bollard (Garry Dobson) is a kilt-wearing and blazingly proud Scot. The gag is that he is also gay. Jokes such as this feel grindingly obvious, even lazy. The company valiantly hammer away at their punchlines but, more often than not, it’s a swing and a miss.
The Playhouse on the Fringe, 0844 871 3014, until 27 Aug, 4pm, £10 (£8).