Lana Schwarcz : Love Monster

By Colin Flaherty

Reading excerpts from her Big Book of Exes, Lana Schwarcz tells a number of disastrous stories from her love life. She is anxious about still being single at 40 and wonders what the main problem is. Could it be the Love Monster?

Each former lover was referred to by occupation only which gave anonymity and also provided fuel for some witty lines about why their relationship ended. Some non-starter beaus were covered in two extended tales; one about a Vietnamese trip, the other about signing up for a reality show. This allowed her to explore some amusing peripheral material that didn’t focus solely on her love life and give more variety to the script.

This was a very theatrical show – essentially a humorous monologue that stuck firmly to a script. Lighting fade outs to divide the “chapters” rounded the formal staging. She delivered her tales with a hint of nervous energy that fitted well with the theme of being a little needy for affection. The audience couldn’t help but warm to her, even after she gave us a sickeningly cutesy collective name.

It wasn’t just an hour of Lana bemoaning her lack of a partner, there was something special thrown into the mix. A renowned puppeteer, Schwarcz has created a stunning creature in the titular monster who made a number of appearances throughout. A physical manifestation of her relationship issues, the Monster distributes love blindly much to Lana’s annoyance. The scene with the monster using Lana’s phone and her woeful attempts at poetry were great fun to watch as she created anarchy. It was a wonderful respite from the theatrical stiffness with some audience interaction which was gentle but liable to intrude on your personal space.

With its poignant ending, Love Monster is a show that unabashedly tugs at your heartstrings. With such a warm and engaging performer it is certainly a fun way to wallow in loneliness.

Love Monster is on at the Imperial Hotel until April 19