Lovely Lady Lump

Part monologue, part stand-up show, Lana Schwarcz (writer, actor, puppeteer and comedian) shares her experience of breast cancer with honest emotion and cheesy one-liners. The show’s clever use of tech helps the audience glean some idea of what Schwarcz must have gone through, though some of her sketches occasionally come across as a little contrived.

Sarcastically reimagining cancer treatment as a luxury holiday resort pithily brings home her struggles

In unconventional fashion, Schwarcz starts the show with breasts bared, going on to explain that she’s less bothered about strangers seeing them after months of medical professionals poking around at them. A lot of the show consists of Schwarcz explaining her experiences directly to the audience, with interludes for short comic sketches and moments where she relives some very difficult times. Her explanation of the grisly details of surgery and the effects of radiology, all told with the air of someone who’d forced themselves to keep smiling through her hardships, gave you some idea of what the one in eight women who contract breast cancer experience and the kind of attitude necessary to keep going.

Her use of projection was often inventive, especially with her frequent interruptions of the show for radiology treatment to convey the draining effect of repeating this five days a week. Her often far-fetched sketches are of variable quality though. Sarcastically reimagining cancer treatment as a luxury holiday resort pithily brings home her struggles, but having cancer as a lousy stand-up or hormone blockers as bouncers seems a touch contrived and unnecessary for the progress of the show.

The very personal content often sat well with Schwartz’s artistic ideas, and she deserves credit for sharing a terrible experience in a relatively light-hearted tone. Even the repeated radiology treatments, which made it clear how utterly drained they left Schwartz, were accompanied with a daft joke and a hilariously inappropriate song choice. The show is a creative way of raising awareness for breast cancer that is both fun and moving, and maybe a little bit inspirational too.

Reviews by Simon Fearn

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

'Let me start by telling you I’m ok. I’m just in a small situation involving a pesky cancer tumour in my left nork, but I’m not dying and I’m the luckiest person in the entire world. Cos f*ck cancer, man. F*ck cancer.' Jokes, truths, and one or two poignant bits from a Melbourne comic who survived breast cancer. ‘Hilariously honest’ (SometimesMelbourne.blogspot.com). ‘Gutsy and gleeful’ (Theatreview.org.nz). ‘Uproariously funny, devastating and heartfelt, Schwarcz doesn’t want her audience to have a good bedside manner – but to behave as badly as she does' (TheResidents.co.nz). 720 ABC Best Theatre Award nominee.