It can be tricky, nailing down a show title long before the Fringe begins. Journalist turned comedian Viv Groskop was going to call her new one Russian Doll, until a producer suggested that it sounded “like a really shit Radio 4 show.” As Groskop pointed out, the hope of getting that Radio 4 show is why many comics do the Fringe in the first place.
That anecdote is a solid start for the popular Groskop’s new hour, although sticking with Russian Doll might have given it more focus come the final drafts. The initial idea was to look at the varying layers of our personalities, but the producer’s funkier title won out, and Vivalicious veers off into our host’s very modern search for her best self.
Groskop has been feeling unfulfilled recently, although those issues could do with further elaboration at the outset here, as it isn’t altogether clear why she embarks on an odyssey of self-help, and eventually hypnosis. Perhaps we’re spoiled by comics opening up so frankly, recently. This is clearly a purposeful stride in that direction though, and an attempt to give her faithful audience a useful take-home: eventually she stumbles on some genuinely profound life lessons, from great thinkers and her own family.
Vivalicious could do with some fine-tuning as the run progresses – a bit of extra exposition here and there, to really nail the point of this show. And a few more punchlines. But Groskop’s sheer enthusiasm and seemingly effortless repartee carry her through regardless. She’s becoming a Fringe institution.