“I guess I just have a great life!” boasts a grotesque fictional wife a few minutes into Demi Lardner’s multi-octane hour. Well, that character is never going to make an interesting Fringe show then.
Our Aussie host, on the other hand, channels an unconventional upbringing into her gleefully absurdist material: mum, dad, stepdads. So many stepdads. And parrots; lots of Demi-replacing parrots. Plus at least one belligerent kangaroo, who briefly steps in as her secondary caregiver. That’s a lot of meat to work with here.
The still youthful Lardner arrives at the Fringe laden with awards – one of her dashed-off visual gags here is to unfurl that full honours board, which she’ll occasionally point out after a particularly odd aside. No need, as we are very much on board—albeit all laughing hardest at different bits; always a good sign—rolling with the pumping beats early doors and barely getting a chance to register how dark a lot of this stuff actually is.
Somehow it holds together as a coherent show too, as Lardner does bring things down along the way, dipping into her poetry book and taking an occasional psychometric test, all of which are also impressively hit-heavy. Usually though she’s marching around in a semi-sinister style, looking for lint and lettuce and fixating on a face, although it’s obvious early on that she’ll refrain from full audience awkwardness.
In fact, the only slight lapses in this magnificently farcical feast are when she breaks into minor giggles, and briefly breaks the spell. But who can blame her?