Review: F*ckboys for Freedom, Sweet Grassmarket

F*ckboys for Freedom is a crude and surreal romp that sets out to explore and satirise the modern day notion of ‘The Fuckboy’; the adolescent male with little respect or knowledge of women, and an inflated sense of entitlement.

The F*ckboy must journey through another land to be crowned the king of F*ckboys, completing bizarre and outrageous tasks along his way in order to prove himself to the omnipresent Kanye West. The beginning of the show is promising, with an absurd enactment of our f*ckboy’s birth and growth from childhood to adolescence. We witness him discover girls, house parties and dick pics.

However, though there are some moments of witty satire throughout the show’s duration, it generally descends into childish jokes that rely on graphic embodiments of genitals and the audience’s bewilderment. Some jokes feel deeply uncomfortable as well as unfunny.

A scene which sees our main character convinced by Kanye to have sex with a very drunk ‘love interest’ is questionable at best. Combined with the appearance of Brock Turner, the man who was given 6 months in prison and an early release for raping an unconscious woman, as a comic figure, these jokes border on the dangerous. It is clear that these scenes intend to satirise Brock Turner and similar men, but men who take advantage of drunk women are not ‘F*ckboys’, they are rapists. To pretend otherwise is harmful, and it is certainly not funny.

The choice of Kanye West, a man who has created work throughout his career that confronts racism and advocates liberation, as a figure emblematic of privilege and entitlement, is also odd. There are hundreds of entitled white men who would have fit the job description.

The problem with this show is that, though its intention is to make fun of young men with little respect for women and a humour based on dildos and rape jokes, that might be exactly who it appeals to.

The surreal premise of this play, full of wacky characters and magical snapbacks, could have made for a witty story, and sometimes the scenes and jokes live up to the expectations laid down by these foundations. However, the extended jokes often tip the balance into being obvious and immature.

F*ckboys for Freedom played at Sweet Grassmarket as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2017.