Despite being called Sri Wanka, Dilruk Jayasinha’s new show only loosely touches on his heritage; if you were to identify some of its major themes, it’s actually about personal identity / self-image, something he’s been struggling with, with an emphasis on his weight. It’s also an expression of how even in our lowest moments, there can be found great moments of realisation, and sometimes even hilarity.
Over the course of an hour, Jayasinha tells us the story of his lowest point in life – hunched over a half pint in a women’s bathroom in Fremantle – frequently distracting himself with tangents, back story, and his twin catchphrases, “let me just explain” and “I wouldn’t believe it either”. It can be a little slow at first, but as events reach their culmination, your sides will almost split from laughter (there were moments I was genuinely concerned the woman next to me was laughing so hard she’d do herself an injury).
He’s a comfortable and relaxed presence on stage; there are moments you can see his brain ticking over as he remembers some other detail or aside, and consults his watch to see if he’ll have time to include it, and never once referred to notes of any sort. It may be that he’s telling stories from his life – as he informs early on, he does “a lot of dumb shit” – maybe it’s that he’s put a lot of work into developing a tightly packed hour of material. It’s always great to see a comedian who has too much material, rather than too little, and you get the feeling it’s probably a slightly different show every night.
Stories include his time on various cruises, being measured for a suit for his brother’s wedding, and what he identifies as the route of his problematic eating habits. What they build to has to be seen to be believed.
Dilruk Jayasinha in Sri Wanka is on at the Victoria Hotel’s Acacia Room at 8:30pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and 7:30pm Sunday until April 17. Prices $20 – $25.