Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh
We’re in the dank and dingy Dehli Belly for Demi Lardner’s show, but we’re not aware of our insalubrious surroundings for long. Because as soon as Lardner bursts onto the stage, we’re transported to a surreal world, that’s equal parts man-cave and subconcious.
Lardner is Gavin, a forty-six year old man, deserted by his wife and trapped in his basement, with only the disembodied voice of telemarketer Sandra (Michelle Braiser) to keep him company. It’s a deliberately ropey characterisation: Gavin, like Lardner, looks younger than twenty-three, and appears to be dressed as a sporty schoolboy. Lardner affects a gruff voice (at times) and a swaggering physicality – it’s peculiar and it’s very funny indeed.
It’s a difficult show to pin down in a review: the appeal is in the shonkiness. It’s essentially a series of quirky vignettes loosely tied together to form the narrative. Lardner is utterly engaging, and some of the best moments are those when she breaks character to giggle or berate the audience. The jokes are goofy and daft with no great meaningful reveal, and there has to be a place for humour such as this.
If the show runs out of steam a little at the end – and it does – I think we can forgive it that. Because we’ve had a fun fifty minutes in Demi Lardner’s silly company.