Sage Francis and B Dolan Present: Tricknology *****

Spoken Word (hip-hop/breakin’, political)

New Town Theatre

Aug 17-20, 22-27

 

There is something infectiously likable about Sage Francis and B Dolan. Whether this is their easy camaraderie, evident talents as performers and lyricists, or raw stage presence, both men understand how to captivate an audience. “Tricknology”, their sophomore Edinburgh Fringe show, is a refining of these talents into a potent hour of spoken word.

 

“Tricknology” is a wry aping of self help culture. With scenes entitled ‘Light Flirting’, ‘Guided Meditation’, and ‘Your Big Break’, Francis and Dolan adopt the guise of faith healers and inspirational speakers, to name a few. They inspire the audience before pulling out the rug, joking that they are ‘far too rich and famous’ to remember any of their fans. In another performer’s hands this unabashed cynicism would be grating, yet both Francis and Dolan are magnanimous enough to remain grounded throughout the hour.

 

On top of their plentiful stage presence, “Tricknology” is a slick and well polished script. The show uses less of Francis and Dolan’s accomplished hip-hop talents, instead opting for more casual rhyme structures, improvisation, and storytelling. This allows the infrequent moments of straight poetry to feel fresh for the audience, who sit captured by both men’s lyrical skill.

 

With crisp audience interaction and a calm confidence, “Tricknology” never spills away from Sage Francis and B Dolan’s control. Some of the later sequences feel rough around the edges, as the tone of cynicism shifts towards sincerity. The ‘New American National Anthem’ is a very powerful piece, but its stone-faced intensity feels like part of another show. Thankfully a sense of gleeful fun permeates the other sequences.

“Tricknology” is one hell of a good time, presented by two of the best showmen in Spoken Word. See it, see it, see it.

 

Freddie Alexander