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Fringe Review: Lovely Lady Lump

By Brian Carroll on June 17, 2016

73 min | Comedy, Clown, Solo | PG

Australian comic Lana Schwarcz survived breast cancer. She tells the audience how she discovered a lump, had it diagnosed as cancer, then endured surgery followed by long treatment involving hormonal, radiation and art therapy.

Art therapy? For cancer? Who knew?

That Schwarcz can leaven gruesome details with humour is a blessing. Many audience members on opening night had friends and relatives who had had cancer.

An experienced standup comic, Schwarcz is funny. How funny? I’d like to quote examples from the early part of the show. But her best bits had me laughing so hard that my notes are illegible.

Schwarcz is a very dynamic performer. On opening night there were technical difficulties with the tape holding her wireless microphone. Surely in the land of Red Green there is an adhesive tape up to the task.

Don’t get the impression that this is a simple yuk fest. Some of her humour has a serious bite. Schwarcz has no patience with euphemisms: “I don’t think having cancer is a journey. It’s a hostage experience. If we called it a terrorist attack, maybe the government would put some of that money for fighting terrorism back into health.”

It ain’t all laughs. As the show opens, Schwarcz reveals her breasts to demonstrate how she was measured for radiation therapy. As the show continues, more revelations build an intense drama that intersperses the humour.

Early in the show, Schwarcz promises to end the show on an upbeat note. Thank goodness, because there’s some really heavy material for the audience to deal with near the end.  True to her promise, she finishes with humour. But if her final material is so funny, why were two warm tears sliding down my cheeks when I stopped laughing to applaud?

Lovely Lady Lump by Lana Schwarcz is playing in Arts Court Theatre on Saturday, June 18 at 4 p.m.;Sunday, June 19 at 10 p.m.; Tuesday, June 21 at 8:30 p.m.; Friday, June 24 at 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, June 26 at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $12.