The Acacia Room of the Victoria Hotel is tucked away in the basement, but the queue for it is still in the lobby, so when it’s time to follow the Comedy Festival volunteer to Demi Lardner’s I Love Skeleton, you’re led through a back door, through the back end of the same queue you’re in, then down to the room. It just feels so silly. It’s an entirely appropriate way to kick off Lardner’s show, which is a collection of absurdist sketch pieces and storytelling which seemed to be structured using the shuffle function of her iPod.
It’s unexpected, casual in its delivery, but at no time did it feel like Lardner had anything but the total attention of the audience. She may be small, but there’s a captivating energy and affability to her that’s just fun to watch. She’s also clearly having fun, but maybe the cold medicine she’d taken immediately before the show helped in that department.
Before seeing I Love Skeleton, I had only seen Lardner’s set from the MICF 2017 Comedy Gala on YouTube and her excellent turn as ‘Ben’ in Wolf Creek: The Musical many years ago. So while I was prepared for her style of humour, I hadn’t been expecting the format. Between the various bits, there were some technical glitches (presumably due to it being a preview show) but at the same time I wouldn’t be surprised if they were scripted, as the energy of Lardner’s performances and ease with which she handled the glitches fit together perfectly.
The only potential issue is that show incorporates a lot of physical elements and, even from a few rows from the front, it could be difficult to see everything going on with one poorly-placed tall haircut. So if you are going to go along to see Demi Lardner’s I Love Skeleton, (and I recommend that you do as the show is excellent), sit as far forward as you can manage, but if you have lint in your belly button, be prepared to hand it over.
I Love Skeleton is on at 7:15pm in the Victoria Hotel until 22 April (no Mondays) as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. For tickets, show details and accessibility information, head to the MICF website.