Review: Richard Fry- O Starry Night at Gilded Balloon

“If you are mad, art history is a really good place to hang out”.  In his eighth solo show, Fry brings a comedy with a view.  

With Vincent van Gogh’s painting, Starry Night, as his anchor, Fry explores his relationship with his mental health: The masculine pressure to conform and the transformative power of art through comedy and a tour through art history, via 1980s Wincanton.

Fry shares his sensitivity with commendable openness.  It is a challenging subject for a comedy. At times there is a lack of confidence, which is fitting for a performance that eschews the Bond-hero narrative.  Offering lesser-known art history points like curios on a wander through a southern French village, Fry creates a piece that is at times lighthearted, and at others intense. The jokes are funny, but the overall feeling is of something meaningful being worked through.

It’s an important personal expression, with a message for our time: Don’t let the patriarchy get you down! Fry offers a strong message of conviction in the power of role models, and that even in a dark night there is a lot of light to be found.

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