It’s the final night of the fringe, and it shows in Liza Treyger’s extraordinarily loose and, at times, shambolic, albeit entertaining performance tonight.
Treyger opens with some crowd work interrogating the audience as to where they are from. And why they have come here at this late stage in the game. This line of questioning seems to cause a great deal of tension amongst the small crowd meaning things get off to an awkward start.
Rather boldly Treyger, rather than moving on, continues with the crowd work. Finally hitting pay dirt when she hits upon a fellow New York resident originally from Glasgow with whom she some fun banter (something that is revisited throughout).
To say things take off from here would not be entirely accurate as things remain hit and miss. Sometimes Treyger picks up on a bit only to forget about it as she goes off on another tangent. Also, occasionally, there is a cultural barrier as she references several US reality television shows and celebrities that nobody in the audience seems to have seen or even heard of.
There is also a sense we are only watching part of the hour she has been performing this month given the time put over to audience work tonight (some of which turns out to be hilarious). Plus, there is the odd story we are told she has not done for other audiences thrown in to. One of these tales is an excruciatingly embarrassing and uproarious scatological tale from her time as a babysitter which brings the house down.
Throughout Treyger shows a real talent for performing “edgy” material without ploughing it for cheap laughs. Also, when routines focus on such potentially tired subjects as drug-taking and internet porn, she successfully finds her own angle on it. And there is nothing done here purely for shock value.
Not to say there is not some uncomfortable stuff here; there is. Such as a routine which starts with Treyger asking the men in the audience if they are scared of false rape claims. Initially, this causes significant discomfort in the room, but it turns out to be a cleverly constructed bit which draws one of the biggest laughs of the night.
Treyger also proves to be a gifted storyteller as her tales of growing up in the States raised by elderly Russian immigrant parents are both acutely observed and very funny. Similarly, her routines on her various addictions are also intelligently crafted and mined for every laugh they are worth.
Despite the baggy, ramshackle nature of tonight’s performance and the performers own conviction she was bombing In the Weeds still turned out to be a frequently hilarious and unexpectedly intelligent hour (and a bit) of stand-up. It also demonstrated Treyger is a fast-rising talent worth keeping an eye out for.