Lou Wall – The Bisexual’s Lament

Lou Wall – The Bisexual’s Lament
Written & performed by Lou Wall. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. ACMI Gandel Lab; Trades Hall Solidarity Hall. 28 March – 21 April 2024

Lou Wall had a great 2023 – professionally.  Television, Edinburgh Fringe, praise, endorsement.  Everything on the up and up.  Privately, 2023 was sh*t.  A drawn-out break-up.  Tear-stained sad, angry, frustrated – and the bisexual thing…  Her Mum suggested she make a list of everything that had got her down, or bugged her, or devastated her.  It was a very long list.  The theory – and Lou Wall’s hope – was that ‘tragedy plus time equals comedy.’  Maybe.  (Actually, yes, as the show proves.)  Wall’s Mum seemed to think it was so because just about anything is a joke to her – something which shocks - and yet buoys - Wall.   So, here, Lou Wall shares the list with us.  Well, not everything.  A selection.  Sixty-nine items. 

Lou Wall has, in all her shows, made interactive and awesomely impressive use of video technology.  The first Lou Wall show I saw was all online during lockdown.  It was That Time I Joined the Illuminati (since renamed as I Trolled the Illuminati).  I was doubly impressed because not only was the show sharp, bizarre, funny and occasionally poignant, there was also the highly skilled use and choice of video images, and the ability to manipulate them – and all to the point and purpose: to make comedy.  All that applies to this show, The Bisexual’s Lament.

It is, if you like, a Power Point presentation of Lou Wall’s 2023.  (The use of the Gothic font for headings is maybe a mistake.)  Wall roams the stage (we should mention that Wall is nearly two metres tall – 6’5’’ in the old money), dressed in sports gear, narrating and sparking off her images and text.  Some of these flash by in seconds.  Emojis, pix of celebs, Wall red-eyed and blotchy, pix of Mum, or Dad.  Some things recur.  Others are expanded sequences, featuring text messages. 

A high point is when Wall tries to give away an Ikea bed frame, for free, pick-up only – a sequence of amazing but hilariously ascending incomprehension and frustration.  Then there’s the embarrassed confession of heterosexual sex from someone who’s been a devoted and campaigning lesbian for yonks…  And worse, the sex seemed to be all ‘chuckle-f**ks’ – that is, with male comedians.  What the…?  How did that happen?  And is it lamentable?  Doesn’t seem to be…  Number 69 is… 69.

Yes, okay, much of this show is close to standard stand-up self-deprecating confessional.  ‘Oh, what a klutz was I!’  But it’s much cleverer and funnier.  This loose, apparently rambling presentation is actually by someone – together with director Zoe Coombs Marr – in complete comic control.  Wall’s persona is the victim of fate, misjudgement and sheer bad luck, but despite the lament, that persona is irrepressible, cheerful, a bit giggly and all too sympathetic.  Anything that happened to her – well, almost anything – could happen to any of us. 

Michael Brindley

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