Lauren Bok is feeling a bit stuck. She’s got a comedy festival show to write, and she’s not quite sure how to do it. Following on from the huge success of Is that a Burrito in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy You Have a Burrito? Bok is sure her next show can be a hit. She’s just got to put it all together…
Writing about writer’s block is a common trope, so let’s be clear that this show is not that. Between a Bok and a Hard Place isn’t self-examination or existentialism. There’s no self-serious meta analysis or strong sense of creative despair (surprisingly common in comedy shows). Rather, Between a Bok and a Hard Place is about anticipation. The show builds itself over the course of the hour, as Bok pulls together the necessary pieces and addresses that ever present self-doubt that many performers carry. There is a kind of informality to the show, helped by the small space and Bok’s casual, friendly personality, that helps assuage any sense of this being an insiders show, or that it is somehow poking a dead frog. There is a triumph here, which comes largely from the pure joy that Bok radiates. It’s clear she loves being on stage, and she’s unafraid to use the whole strange space set up at Belleville – leaping up stairs and in and out of mirrored doors.
Part sketch, part mime, and largely stand up, the show leaps between topics and forms just as Bok leaps up stairs – with energetic enthusiasm. It’s an enthusiasm that sweeps the audience up and turns smiles into giggles, and giggles into belly laughs. The intimacy of the venue allows the audience to see Bok’s every movement, and Bok to wring comedy from each shoulder shimmy and eyebrow raise (a move she has truly perfected). It’s the kind of physicality that allows Bok to turn small slips into jokes and to barrel on through those that don’t land as well as one would hope.
Between a Bok and a Hard Place is on at 7:15pm at Belleville until 8 April (no show Wednesday) as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets and accessibility information are available online via the MICF wesbite.