Demi Lardner’s Ditch Witch 800 is fucking wild. It’s absurd, it’s erratic, it’s dark. It is not, despite what the description says, anything to do with the 2001 movie Shrek, though if you know what ‘Shrek is love, Shrek is life’* means and you find it funny, chances are you’ll enjou Ditch Witch 800 too.
Lardner has a wonderful intensity. She bounds across the stage, unafraid to fall towards (or into) the audience to grab a bigger laugh. Her physicality is matched by her expressions, elastic, caricatures fit for the characters she portrays. There’s some relatable ones, and some that slip past the veneer of relatability into the Lovecraftian (look, the Wife Swap bit was a personal favourite). The show is a series of fragmented sketches, one liners and physical gags hung together surprisingly well with assistance from Lardner’s tech Janet. The use of AV in this show is excellent, and it betrays the fast and loose improv vibe; Lardner has scripted (at least some of) this, and it is really, really well written. It’s an absolute roller-coaster ride of a comedy festival show.
Not to go too hard on comparisons, but if you love Aunty Donna’s weirdest sketches, you will love Ditch Witch 800. Lardner notes that two other reviews have commented on audiences not being able to relax – this isn’t a safe space. But who cares? Who goes to comedy to feel safe? This is the kind of internet-age post-modern comedy bullshit that will make you wet yourself.
*Editor’s note – if you don’t know what this means, do not look it up.
Ditch Witch 800 is on at 9:45pm at the Greek Centre until 21 April as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available at the venue or via the MICF website.