Elf Lyons: Being Barbarella

comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 12 Aug 2015

Accepted convention says that the nerd never gets the girl. But what if the nerd is the girl? Elf Lyons is a charmingly awkward comic who found herself at a confidence crossroads last year. After both her comedic prowess and her physical attractiveness took a beating, Lyons turned to her nerd self for inspiration and consolation, and found it in the surprising form of 1960s sci-fi icon Barbarella.

It's an unusual role model to adopt, not least for the bashing Barbarella has taken over the years – mostly for being a space adventurer who "went round having sex with everyone and everything." Lyons has no problem with this, in fact she enthusiastically embraces it, and segues gracefully into a sparky section on the art of Tinder dating. 

Lyons is endearingly eccentric on so many levels. She's proud of her prolific dating, championing it primarily as an impressive administrative feat. Neighbourhood nuns are a supportive presence in her childhood. The boarding school accent is boisterously hijacked by other world-voices with "enthusiasm not ability". She has a knack for fostering the desire to be her new best friend.

The show is peppered with offhand nerd references—like Easter eggs in a DVD—to be picked up and enjoyed by those in the know. Lyons is so likeable and has such an unaffected jubilance it's a shame she might be the last person to realise how funny and attractive she actually is.