Note: This review is from the 2023 Fringe

In ‘Rock Hard’, Funny Women 2021 finalist Coral Bevan loses herself in the persona of Wayne Wayneson, the god of rock who loves nothing more than freedom and rocking hard. Wayneson is a colourful caricature of guitar rocking, libido driven masculinity, but his fragile ego is shattered when his mother (the Statue of Liberty, naturally) takes away the source of his mojo as a punishment for his reckless behaviour. Wayneson’s quest to recover his swagger is an ever welcome deconstruction of male bravado, complete with bizarre, lewd humour and a moustache that deserves a Tony award.

While Bevan actually slips in and out of a few personas during the show, none of them are as memorable as Wayneson. Obsessed with being ‘hard’ and now having to go about his days as a ‘soft’ man, the metaphors contain all the subtlety of a rusty pickup truck. The show’s core and main source of laughter comes from its playful, ludicrous, and more often than not, very funny takedown of manhood based on showmanship, at once eliciting pity for Wayneson while also marking him out as clearly ridiculous. 

The cramped staging struggles to give the impression of scale needed for the awesome concerts and hustling bars that form backdrops to Wayneson’s journey, albeit even the biggest stages couldn’t rival his country music rockstar image for scale. Bevan strikes a great balance with her audience, encouraging but not demanding participation in the action, reveling in those audience members who are more than game for getting down in some antics. You can never guarantee hysterics at every gag, but Bevan overwhelmingly leaves the crowd with a hefty grin.

Some opportunities for funny double entendres go unfulfilled, disappointing given how naturally they seem to spruce up in the writing and that they would seemingly fit with Wayneson’s character. Even so, ‘Wayne Waynson’s Rock Hard’ is a joyously performed hour of character comedy that has both joyous vulgarity and entertaining ideas at its heart.

‘Wayne Wayneson’s Rock Hard’ runs until Sat 12 Aug 2023 at BlundaGardens – BlundaBus at 16:20