REVIEW | Absolute Riot



Reviewed by Brendan Daynes

On Thursday 28th July, the unique and insanely talented Miss Friby brought her bold and boisterous cabaret show, Absolute Riot, back to Melbourne after playing to audiences all over Australia since 2021. The show was a hoot from start to finish and gave the audience “all the feels” including side splitting laughter and moments of deep contemplation.

Elizabeth Dawson-Smith is the “BIG BOSS LADY” at Miss Friby and is the front woman and star of this one woman show shining from start to finish with a big vocal performance, fantastic comedic talent, skilful character portrayal and marvellous choreography that rounds out her skill set and proves that she really is a triple threat. Miss Friby is accompanied on stage by her “practically invisible” stage hand side kick, Simone Mcgennisken, or Sim-on-eh as she is affectionately called throughout the show, who proves that she too is an exceptionally talent. Spending much of her time being a stage hand, being the one who jumps at each and every request of Miss Friby, she too gets a moment to shine, sitting down at the keyboard proving that she is an exceptional musician and vocalist.

At the beginning of the show Miss Friby was honest and upfront with the audience and told them that ‘nothing will make sense’ and she wasn’t wrong. It is hard to describe the common thread that strung this whole show together as it seemed as though there wasn’t one but considering the shows title is Absolute Riot, the artistic intention is quite clear. The wild disorder that took place on stage didn’t cause confusion or bewilderment for anyone, it was over an hour of pure amusement that captivated and intrigued and most of all entertained.

From the first word right until the last, there was a non stop barrage of dazzling performance. The music selection was sublime and kept your toes tapping, with well written original tunes as well as some good old classics like Elvis’ Bossa Nova Baby. The music showcased the breadth of Miss Friby’s vocal ability, highlighted by a simply stunning rendition of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’ which showcased a beautiful and soulful vocal quality. Miss Friby describes the choreography in the show as modern-jazz-ballet-pilates-quick-change-magic and it did not disappoint. The costumes were also a feature of the show, a particular highlight was the lobster claw hands, with both choreography and costumes becoming a part of the physical comedy that Miss Friby does so well.

There is many memorable moments that will stick with you long after you leave the theatre and they are certain to put a smile on your face and take you back into a world where anything is possible and nothing is off limits. Absolute Riot is over an hour of genuine entertainment that is sure to excite, thrill and delight viewers and could be watched over and over again.

Absolute Riot played at Melbourne Fringe Common Rooms Trades Hall on 28th and 29 July. For more information on Miss Friby and her other shows and upcoming performances visit

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