REVIEWS FROM THE ADELAIDE FRINGE 2011
Writer/performer Richard Fry shows an appealing vulnerability as he presents Jesus' story in eloquent modern prose. It is fascinating to hear a story told in this way and the material is affecting and heart-felt. Coupled with the strong delivery, this show really packs an emotional punch. (Kryztoff Adelaide - 19/02/11)
Richard Fry delicately blends pathos, humour, pain and joy in a bitter-sweet tale that is both moving and rewarding. He combines his striking poetic images with a committed performance that almosy overwhelms at times with its intensity. His portrayals of the two friends captivate both the imagination and emotions of the audience as well as challenging their perceptions. You will feel better, on many levels, for having seen this remarkable performance. This is yet another big winner from the CIT stables that you ought to see. (Barry Lenny - GlamAdelaide - 20/02/11)
REVIEWS FROM THE EDINBURGH FRINGE 2010
SMILER HITS THE MARK
Jesus (not his real name) is here to talk about his best friend, Smiler. It took a little while for the pair to understand each other due to Smiler's speech defect and Jesus's initial awkwardness around Smiler's disability, but now the two are inseparable.
Jesus recounts the story of their friendship in rhyming verse and the poetry feels natural in the mouth of writer and performer, Richard Fry...
Fry's performance is disarmingly honest and committed - Smiler was inspired by the actor's real life friendship with a young man living with a head injury, and the truth of his feeling is palpable.
Where many one-person plays are merely plot-free character studies, this piece has proper narrative drive and the capacity to surprise its audience. Smiler hits the mark. (Jo Caird, whatsonstage.com 19/08/2010)
AN EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE
...Smiler, is the story of two friends that smashed through that barrier. Using powerful, dark, and frequently humourous prose, writer/performer Richard Fry delivers a story that gets beyond the disability at last, and explores a real friendship between two men. A beautifully constructed piece, we are taken from the awkward first meeting to the ultimate expression of real love (via a costume party dressed as Right Said Fred).
This is an exceptional performance by Fry, who launched his fringe career three years ago with the critically acclaimed Bully and since gone from strength to strength. Fry's shows work both as terrific pieces of theatre but also really make you think. And more than that, even if you're not as flawed as I am, Fry will challenge your world view and may even change you for the better. Such power is rare. (Martin Walker, Scotsgay, 27/08/2010)
FRY HAS A PRECIOUS TALENT!!
It reads like a puff from reality TV: a gentle-giant former bin-ban wins fame across the country, with a raw and emotional performance coming straight from his heart. But this is no manufactured sing-along; this is challenging, disturbing, often gut-wrenching theatre. And Richard Fry really has got talent.
Smiler, Fry's latest one-man work, is the natural successor to his Fringe debut Bully - a fictional (though surely personal) account of coming out amidst a cycle of deprivation and pain. This year's script tackles a no-less-challenging subject - disability - and, as though that's not enough, drink-driving and assisted suicide find a place on the agenda too.
Too dark for lunchtime? Maybe. But both as writer and performer, Fry has a precious talent: the ability to lead us to the edge of despair, then suddenly tug us back again. With a trademark style treading the boundary between acting and poetry, we're expecting Fry's latest monologue to hurt and heal in equal measure. So if you saw Bully, we know you'll want to see Smiler too; and if you didn't, then it's time to discover just what a former bin-man can do.
RICHARD FRY - writer & performer
After a lifetime of running dodgy pubs, selling secondhand goods and emptying bins for a living, Richard Fry decided to make an honest career out of writing and acting. Since graduating from Drama Studio London in the summer of 2004, Richard has built up an impressive CV.
Film credits include Take 3 Girls, True Identity, London, Natasha, Private Moments, Three Minute Moments, Quality Indigo and Camp Xray - Ghosts of Guantanamo.
Theatre shows include his highly successful and internationally acclaimed verse trilogy Bully, Smiler and The Ballad of the Unbeatable Hearts, and Homo Asbo.