We’re not even a week into the NZ International Comedy Festival and I’ve already broken my cardinal rule of never being late to a show (for goodness’ sake people, learn from my mistake and get to the Q Theatre box office well before your show starts).
Very embarrassed and trying to scuttle into the back of Cellar at Q Theatre unnoticed, my first encounter with Lucy Roche was hearing her insisting to the audience that she does not have a pee fetish, which is not something I usually hear on a Saturday night (or any night for that matter).
Roche was the 2016 Raw Comedy Quest winner, and with her first solo show has created an hour of jokes exploring her job as a sex worker and what’s she learned so far from working in the world’s oldest profession.
That’s not to say that Roche relies on the uniqueness of her job to get laughs. Roche’s anecdotes about the sex industry may be fascinating, but I thought her best jokes were her witty observations about the mundane realities of sex work and her pragmatic views of the industry, rather than just funny stories about working in a brothel. One of the best jokes of the night was about avoiding paying taxes, and Roche ended her show with darkly humorous sex tips that would never get past the editors at Cosmopolitan.
Roche still seems to be finding her feet with the jump to a full-hour solo show. She fumbled with her delivery at times, checking her notes and pausing to regain her train-of-thought, but she was engaging enough that you were still with her once she got back on track.
There were also times when her jokes didn’t quite land, not because they weren’t funny but because the set up was too rushed and the audience didn’t get enough time to process them, and times were Roche rushed on to the next joke before the audience were ready for it.
Any of Roche’s material would work well for her on a line-up show, and I know that Roche is not a storytelling comedian, but I still think some sort of over-arching structure would have given her performance a stronger sense of purpose and lifted it to the next level. She has such a great comedic voice, and I think she is a promising comedian that will definitely be going places.
With Dollars and Sex, Roche has created an hour of unexpected jokes out of unconventional material, and while it lacked the polish of a seasoned performer, she still showed that she has a unique voice and you should be taking notice of her now.