It’s hard to approach a comedy review without thinking you are God’s gift to the entertainment industry. So, here goes an attempt to review an artists’ work from the point of view of someone with a sense of humour, an appreciation of people who can make others laugh and an anticipation to laugh himself.
Sophia Del Pizzo is an artist of multiple trades, admittedly of varying qualities, as mentioned by her own harsh judgement of her multi-media editing skills – in which I believe she is being modest. ASSMONKEY: IN CONVERSATION is her debut one woman show on for a limited 4 show run at the Network Theatre, Waterloo as part of the Vault festival. The show is described on the Vault website as merging “comedy genres through stand up, spoken work, silly songs and character work.” All of which were used to share Pizzo’s relationship with anxiety and make for an evening of light hearted comedy.
Pizzo’s natural bubbly quality makes her easy to give your attention to, her caricatures of odd stereotypes such as an Australian Yoga teacher were a lot harder to follow and I found myself being told to meditate in what felt like an awkward self-help therapy session, searching for where the joke lay. My own dislike of Pizzo’s caricatures, however, shouldn’t be the way her show is understood; for Pizzo herself had a natural ease to her performance. Her communication with us spectators was present, and she was working in the moment with what was clearly a hard, tired audience.
Despite the show taking a dark ‘Theatre in Education’ undertone of the serious impacts of illegal drug consumption, the show finished with the strong joke of the night in the form of a conversation with Sophie’s physical anxiety, which I won’t expand on but rather encourage you to go and see for yourself. Her adapted lyrics to Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ were witty and appropriate to the subject and I wished she’d shared that skit with us for longer rather than the somewhat sporadic medley.
I appreciate Pizzo’s amalgamation of content, however, I got a bit lost when she started reading out letters, supposedly from the NHS, of a much more serious macabre, when we had just experienced a multi-media spoken word episode of the glorified highs and disastrous come downs of drug consumption, these serious letters created an awkward atmosphere in which the Australian Yoga teacher didn’t make me feel any less uncomfortable. Admittedly, her thoughts on human connection were original.
As far as stand-up one-woman shows go (to which I don’t have the widest breadth of experience), Pizzo gave a really positive energy and had a hard audience to please and had a few genuinely funny laugh out loud gags and resulted in an hour of comedy to please various senses of humour.
ASSMONKEY: IN CONVERSATION is playing Network Theatre until 11th Febuary 2018. For more information and tickets, see vaultfestival.com/whats-on/assmonkey-in-conversation/.