‘Health and Happiness Guru to the Stars’ Marijana (Gabby Best) takes her audience on a journey to find themselves. Instead, they find themselves faced with a character whose overconfidence, thinly veiled loneliness and peculiar mannerisms are anything but conducive to inner peace in this clever character comedy.
The greatest strength of the piece is in the humour Best creates through her character’s use of language.
The greatest strength of the piece is in the humour Best creates through her character’s use of language. Her compromised understanding of English leads to hilarious mispronunciations and the misuse of many idioms. A particular highlight is the story Marijana tells her audience concerning her most famous client, David Cameraman, leader of the Conservatories.
The Marijana Method is also successful as a satire of the bourgeois-bohemian quest to find inner peace via cultural misappropriation. She subverts clichés of breathing exercises, stretches and group sessions to confront fears by extending them to the point of ridiculousness. The patronising tone with which Marijana addresses the audience and engages them in these activities is brilliantly realised, and is made even funnier because of her occasional slips in tone, which reveal the failed marriage she tries to veil.
However, whilst Best does a fantastic job of creating a hilarious character, the premise of the show feels too limited, causing the humour to be somewhat repetitive. Marijana is so well developed by fifteen minutes into the piece that it needs stakes to be raised or the narrative to develop in order to keep the audience engaged.
Best is a wonderful performer and has imagined a wonderfully silly character. Her wordplay is intelligently funny, but this show lacks the variation to remain compelling for its entire duration.