This show is really less about being trapped between a rock (or Bok, pardon the pun) and a hard place and more a guided tour behind the curtain, through the backstage and into the gaping void of a comedian's mind. A sassy Melbourne-based comedian, Lauren Bok has the similar mannerism and comedic tone of Celeste Barber and logically steps you through the four important components of a show – the title, the blurb, the image and the talent (which was pushed aside and possibly forgotten about on this night, which might be understandable being the very first preview show of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival).
The beginning of the routine is all about getting the audience participating and possibly getting the audience comfortable which is always a smart move at a comedy show, especially for those in the first couple of rows nervous about being picked on during the night. With two drumsticks in hand and a methodical beat, Bok had the audience creating a methodical beat with their voice as she performed a string of lyrics to a well-known song that I am certain you will recognise and therefore understand the significance of it at the conclusion of the show.
Bok, an adept storyteller, continues narrative with determining the first step of coming up with a comedy show, the title. She shows the audience an array of possible show titles that use a lot of popular TV and movies with her name cleverly inserted to create possible puns, and through audience applause, she determines the new show title for the night - making 'A Bok and a Hard Place' redundant. Then she moves you along to the next few topics of writing up the perfect show blurb and image, which brings about a few laughs here and there with the help of some modern technology.
However, the comical gem of the night is when she describes the importance of the song which accompanies the comedian as they walk on the stage, as this sets the mood and probably determines the audience's perception of the person who will entertain you for the next 60 minutes. Clearly Bok, a student of drama, moves through the type of comedian she would be if she walked on stage to various genres of music from pop to rock.
Bok clearly has a flair for the physical comedy, entertains the crowd with a one-woman's fashion show, creating different outfits with just her t-shirt and black leggings. This lady is certainly versatile, as this was a preview show, certain "costume changes" resulted in some funny fashion failures, however Bok was quick to remind the audience that this was indeed a preview show and forced us into a chant of "PREVIEW, PREVIEW, PREVIEW" with the constant reminder that there is "NO REFUND".
Finally, the night took a turn and became a little serious as Bok recounted how she always wanted to be a stand-up comedian and like many of us, squished her dreams deep down as a child and became a teacher instead. It took an ex-boyfriend to give her permission to finally pursue the path of a comedian. Bok's demeanour changed and the material became moving and enlightening as she gave everyone in the audience the permission to ask for what they want in life.
For those who enjoy not only sassy one-liners, but also physical, wacky comedy, with a side of pure silliness and visual props, than this is definitely one to watch!