Two years ago, Australian comedian and puppeteer Lana Schwarcz was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Star rating: ***
Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)
Evidently she survived, as she’s here in Edinburgh to talk about the experience.
To her eternal credit, she achieves this while pointedly rejecting the condescending, clichéd notion that she’s been on a “journey”. No, she’s been through hell. But that doesn’t mean she can’t laugh about it.
She boldly illustrates the reality of her situation by performing a sizeable percentage of the show topless, a large operation scar inescapably visible on her left breast. She’s not here to make anyone feel uncomfortable, though. Her tale may be laced with an underlying sense of loneliness and terror, but her demeanour remains brazenly chipper and clownishly expressive throughout.
Through a series of sketch-like vignettes – some of which fall flat – she expounds upon the discomfort of radiation therapy, the absurd pointlessness of art therapy and, with the assistance of an audience member, oncological massage.
Her monologue isn’t side-splitting by any means, but it does manage to explore a highly serious subject with good-humoured warmth and sensitivity. What’s more, a happy ending is guaranteed.
Until 29 August. Today 4pm.