Zoe Lyons: Clownbusting

20110331-223719.jpg 7:15pm, 31 March, Powder Room, Melbourne Town Hall

First night of the Festival is a trial for any comedian but for someone who's never performed in Melbourne before I can only assume it's a bit terrifying. We can be a harsh audience but we can also be incredibly forgiving. The thing is, we don't even know what we're going to be like until confronted with some poor victim on stage, suffering from jet lag and unsure why this room that seemed so very roomy moments ago is now an airless sweat-pit.

Zoe Lyons did a couple of things to get us onside early. She wore all black and displayed a knowledge of tram lines that would rival many locals.

It's a cheap trick and we fell for it. Just as well too because she has a terrible poster and a worse show title. Putting the word "clown" in the title is like polar rejection to a city populated by citizens afeared of juggling.

So, audience on-side, Lyons moved into a series of stories about failing to overcome issues of low self-esteem. By way of snuggies, Van de Graaff generators and nudist beaches.

The details make all the difference in Lyon's delivery. Whether she uses the whole stage to set a scene or just a tiny hand gesture, the audience is with her. She's a great performer with some solid material but we've been spoilt in the past and I just wish she had pulled out something amazing because I left wishing to be more enthusiastic than I was and that's not fair to anyone.

Someone understands what I mean by that but probably not you.

I wrote this review on my iPhone using the WordPress app, while on the train home from seeing this show followed by Roisin Conaty.