Surviving breast cancer was one big achievement for comedian Lana Schwarcz; another was to turn the whole experience into an award-winning comedic romp. It might appear in the comedy section but this is as much theatre as it is comedy.
In the small Wee Room at the Gilded Balloon, Schwarcz bounds onto stage topless explaining ‘cancer is a lot like sex, it fucks you!’ and that breast cancer wasn’t the type of cancer she dreams she would get. ‘After all; I’m ginger and live in Australia’, she says showing the audience her freckled arms.
There’s no holds barred with this vivacious Australian, whose personality and accent are infectious. There’s a lot of getting things off her chest and a lot of chest-baring too; but it’s done with great wit and observation.
She turns her ‘sea of shit’ and the emotional roller-coaster she goes through, exploring it with some clever use of multi-media, and even moments of puppetry, massage and ballet, to take us through her story. There’s even a life lesson to ‘go get yourself checked’ – advice given to her by ‘her angel’ whom she meets whilst walking her dog in the park – which is her life saving grace.
Ultimately it’s a good-luck story about early diagnosis and of survival, despite surgery and threats to personal identity and fertility. If you take one thing away from this, it’ll be to never refer to anyone who’s going through cancer, or who has survived it, as having been on a journey or it being ‘a gift’.
A comedy show about cancer hardly sounds like a bundle of laughs but this is exactly what this is – cleverly told, peppered with some great jokes that will have you laughing out loud, looking at something that on the face of it, is a ‘hostage experience’. She might even have you buying her ‘booby merch’ at the end of the show too.