By Michael Kaufmann
There is a new style of stand-up comedy that has emerged over the last decade or so. Gone are the days of big, flashy comics who command the room and rely on broad comedy; gone is the need for provocative and intentionally insulting jokes. Whether it’s a reflection of millennial culture, or a response to the world we exist in, the new-wave of comedy is relatable, intimate and self-deprecating. Tonight at the Enmore Theatre, comedian Lauren Bonner served a tight one-hour set of just that.
Bonner claims to have never been dumped, she is the titular Heartbreaker. She started strong, quickly lampooning her own introduction of herself, before playing a quick round of F***, Marry, Kill with an audience member. In fact her romantic exploits formed the backbone of her set. She took time to make fun of her past self by reading her old diary and spinning the tale of her first romance, with the kind of man who would order a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich from Subway (a clear deal-breaker). She intermittently stopped to read tinder messages, which was (as was most of the overall set) deeply hilarious. Whilst she doesn’t present the most commanding and dominant stage presence, that ultimately works to her favour as she presented the empathetic voice of an equal.
The venue worked immensely in her favour. The Wild Oats Wine Bar is small and the near-sold out capacity left it a little cramped. The tight space worked well with the intimate vibe of Bonner’s set. This style of stand-up may not have been successful in a larger space, I imagine the tone wouldn’t translate and the material would get lost in an open space, but here it is perfectly served. Any time there was any kind of audience engagement, it landed perfectly because she was able to directly communicate with the audience members who maybe, at most, were a metre away from her. This is how this new wave of millennial comedy works, it is about personal and shared experiences. It may not be appealing to audiences used to more traditional stand-up comedians, but for others, it is a refreshing, and relatable voice that they can get behind. She focused on self-deprecating personal comedy, skewering herself through experiences that the audience can understand. It’s about catharsis and a common voice.
This was a tight set from a refreshing comedian with a perfect place among others in the new wave of millennial comedy. Bonner finds success similar to other newer comics, riding that wave, presenting a relatable perspective that audiences can get behind and allowing them to find comedy in their disenfranchisement. I imagine that Lauren Bonner has a future ahead of her, and I for one am keen to hear what she has to say.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.