Review: The Lazy Show

27 February 2019

As someone who only just purged the primary school art work still living in my drawers, and has had ‘go vegetarian’ on my to-do list for four years now but has never bothered to learn how to cook, I am well versed in the art of procrastination and chronic laziness. I believed there would be no better show to describe my terrible life choices than The Lazy Show, promoted as a mixture of stand-up comedy and personal storytelling by Nikki Viveca that captures what it means to be “a lazy person in a busy person’s world”. And it certainly delivered.

Held in the Butterfly Club, a hidden gem tucked away in Melbourne’s CBD, the venue is as captivating as the queer comedian herself. Renowned for its unapologetically eclectic interior and intimate surroundings, the Butterfly Club instantly asserts itself as a place where anything goes, if the Burlesque Life Drawing advertisement taped to the bathroom door has anything to say about it.

Just as the venue invites you in with its intriguing atmosphere, so too does Viveca. Definitely not someone to slowly warm up her audience, Viveca makes her grand entrance by proudly parading around in her underwear and fishnet stockings. While undoubtedly captivating, it is her infectious enthusiasm that truly captures your attention, as her affectionate energy and palpable joy make you feel not only seen, but most importantly, welcomed.

Self-labelled as a ‘Princess of Procrastination’, or a ‘Dowager of Downtime’, Viveca fills the hour with just what she promised: a celebratory ode to sloth and anecdotes from her “life of lethargy”. Her struggle to wake and leave her bed despite a fire alarm going off, her relief that the Child’s Pose exists when yoga becomes too effortful, and her fear of coming back as a ghost because she has that much unfinished business left truly express the degree of her chronic laziness.

Although the focus on laziness is to be expected when creating a show centred around a specific theme, at times it does feel a little excessive and even a tad self-indulgent. I often found myself beginning to wonder if this is how my friends must feel every time I turn to them with another account of an assignment I handed in at 11.58pm on the dot, because despite the amusing spin we weave into our tardy tales, it does pose the risk of arousing pity rather than a laugh.  

What does lessen the slight monotony of some of the content and freshens the tempo of the performance is Viveca’s candid navigation into her own personal experiences as an asexual, transgender woman. Viveca perfectly balances her narration between thoughtful poignancy and her signature self-deprecating humour, navigating effortlessly between the struggles of being a closeted trans woman feigning at hyper-masculinity when around her classmates, and her comical postponing of her transition for years simply because she could not be bothered with the effort required.

Her dwelling into her life as an asexual person is equally hilarious and refreshing, and certainly brings more attention to a sexuality often ignored or misunderstood in society. Surprisingly, her lack of sexual attraction to any gender coincidently compliments her chronic laziness quite well, because (as Viveca puts it), why would she want to take part in any kind of physical activity in general, let alone in a place as untroubled and magical as the sanctuary of her bed. All these personal accounts of her experiences as a queer individual, while educational, never feel like a lecture, and the unique perspective she offers is expertly woven in with an appreciation of all things lazy, so as to keep on par with the theme of the show.

While Viveca definitely has unfinished business (namely those library books she keeps forgetting to read), The Lazy Show is one thing she can tick off her long to-do list. The seeds for The Lazy Show were first planted in Viveca’s mind during her first improv workshop some twenty years ago, and the show proves that even the laziest person can (eventually) find the energy to be productive and create something of significance. Even the most productive person would surely leave The Lazy Show and have a new-found respect and admiration for their sloth-like counterparts, because our laziness truly knows no bounds.

For a self-described sluggish, unproductive, procrastinating, lazy woman, Viveca certainly put on a wonderful, lively show.

The Lazy Show played at the Butterfly Club from the 11th to the 16th of February.

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