Ange Lavoipierre and I celebrated the very first official night of the Adelaide Fringe festivities with her show Zealot that opened to a pretty full tent and an enthusiastic audience. Her show took us all on a journey from when she was a child (under 10 years of age) to the time when she was "15 years, 6 months, and 12 days", which was around the time she was diagnosed with Leukemia and was advised by someone from the church that it was, perhaps, "God's way of telling you something". Straying away from the religious concepts at that time could not have been more fitting, in my personal opinion and I would personally like to pledge my support for Lavoipierre's decision to turn into an absolute heathen for these very reasons.
Throughout this storyline, we were given snippets of how Lavoipierre was brought up with the rigid and strict morals that are discussed in the Bible and yet, how in her precious little mind, her thoughts wandered towards the weird, whacky, (other)worldly, and truly wonderful, that while at the time felt 'wrong' and instilled a heavy amount of guilt in her, later proved to be for the greater good. In just under an hour, Lavoipierre was able to treat the audience to a plethora of fun activities including tarot reading to playing with bones to taking us all down memory lane by reading her diary entries to playing a game on-stage about what's real and what's not. There was a lot going on in the show to keep all our eyes on our dear little Ange, as she entered the topsy-turvy stage of transitioning from blindly following what was being injected into her (very) curious brain to taking a stand and being brave enough to question everything around her.
Lavoipierre has a charisma and charm about the way she presents herself on stage. She seems to have a signature style of stand-up comedy through dry, slapstick humour with a hint of truth laced within that makes her content so easy to follow, understand, and relate to. As she eloquently describes her upbringings in Bathurst (NSW), I cannot help but witness the quintessential element that makes an NSW-based stand-up comedian so unique and distinct to recognize (and that is a very good thing)! There was a finesse to her poise, her raw and honest composure, and her ability to switch from character to character in an effortless fashion (and with minimal costume change) that makes her a versatile and attractive comedian with major skills to make it big in the industry one day.
There is a very tiny level of audience participation (something I never look forward to). However, the way Lavoipierre encouraged her audience to get involved was gentle and friendly, rather than in-your-face (something that is such a big no-no in my books). Just don't try and get unknowingly cursed by one of her characters and you'll be in good hands!
There were a couple of speed bumps that presented during the show, but these deserve to be forgiven, given the fact that it was the opening night performance. Shows were running behind schedule, there were a few technical glitches with the lighting and sound that didn't make the show seem to flow as seamlessly, and the background noise from other shows made their way into our little tent that occasionally took me (and Lavoipierre) out of the show and needed us all to reset and take a moment to bring ourselves back to the context that was being constructed. However, despite these minor disruptions, Lavoipierre was able to deliver a decent 55-minute show that entertained her audience members and attracted a ton of generous laughs with her subtle yet strong punchlines that landed beautifully and a very hearty applause at the end of the show.
Lavoipierre's show Zealot is a feel-good show that will urge you to explore the burning questions that may have been circling in your head for quite some time. It will make you laugh and it will make you ponder about what your version of "reality" is. Most importantly, it will make everything you know and think about religion and its values start to crumble - for all the right reasons!
Date attended: 14/02/2020 Overall rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★
Ange Lavoipierre will be performing her show Zealot at Gluttony from February 14 - 23, 2020 as part of Adelaide Fringe. Book your tix here.
A link to Ange Lavoipierre's e-interview can be found here.