Alice Fraser: Ethos, Underbelly, Review

Submitted by Erin Roche on Sun, 5 Aug '18 10.23pm
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Get Comedy by arrangement with Mushroom Comedy and TGA
Alice Fraser
Running time

The prolific Alice Fraser has a hard time selling herself, which is probably because there is no way to quite describe her. Genre-defying, self-admittedly over ambitious, cerebral...these all fall a bit short. There doesn’t seem to be just the right words.

Aussie ex-corporate lawyer Alice Fraser believes she can find the right words, that words can save the world. For this show, following her previous Fringe runs, Empire and Savage, she explores Ethos, the Greek concept of persuasion, in particular, the persuasion of an audience to trust in the speaker’s character and credibility. Ethos also happens to be the name of her AI sidekick/hypeman/heckler (but mostly, heckler). Fraser and Ethos banter back and forth about language, nuance, and what elevates us into complex, sentient beings rather than a hodgepodge of matter. That’s an oversimplified digestion of the show. This Kirk/Spock, Picard/Data, Janeway/Doctor volley with anyone else could have gone cheese; with Fraser it’s inventive.

The jokes at an Alice Fraser show may not always elicit a unanimous cackle, but that doesn’t mean they’re not brilliant. Any subject is up for grabs from binary code to googly eyes to to sock puns to RuPaul’s Drag Race, and it all ties together somehow. In fact, there are so many synapses in a Fraser show, that it becomes a sort of living brain on stage for 55 minutes, but takes the edge off with a goof anytime it teeters too highbrow (cue: ending with a parody sing-a-long about the #metoo movement).

Ethos is a manifesto to the ethos that words matter, and that they’ve never mattered more. Completely non-derivative, Fraser is the cleverest comedian at the Fringe, but she doesn’t take herself so seriously that she can’t drop a punctuating swear word or a well-placed butt pube metaphor. Don’t be tired when you come see this show (and you should see this show), and you might just leave smarter than when you walked in.

Aug 6-27 (not 13), 19:55

Alice Fraser performs a Trilogy of her shows Savage, Empire, and The Resistance on August 13th. Rare treat, not to miss. More info here: