Lawrence Leung: The Marvellous Misadventures Of Puzzle Boy
Show type: Melbourne 2006
This show has not yet got a description.
There’s an ever-growing trend among comedians to celebrate their geekiness. Acts from David O’Doherty to Demetri Martin have harnessed the unfashionable childhood obsessions that made them schoolyard outsiders to produce acclaimed comedy shows. Stand-up truly is the revenge of the nerds.
Lawrence Leung clearly falls into the same category, with the Marvellous Misadventures Of Puzzle Boy promising to expose his passions for anagrams, mazes and the Rubik’s Cube. But this is not really a show about those trivial pursuits. Instead it concerns the one conundrum the young Leung never really fathomed: girls.
Inspired by the discovery of a trunk full of embarrassing diaries and unsent love letters, Leung decided to relive his painful adolescent memories every night for festival audiences. And quite charming it is, too.
Leung is so adept at recreating the moments of shy, indecisive adolescence, that it’s easy to empathise with his awkward , aborted attempts to express his nascent feelings of love. Whatever problems his childhood self had, eloquence is clearly no problem now he’s an adult.
The show is full of nice touches, from the delightful animations that assist him to the enchanting anagrams that express his feelings. Such is the attention to detail, that even a postage stamp shown fleetingly on the introductory film features Leung’s own face.
So it builds, quietly but effectively, through the years; from the horror of his first kiss-chase and his friendship with the classmate who ate his own poo to growing maturity and some understanding of the opposite sex beyond trying to impress them with his Rubik’s Cube dexterity.
It all makes for a rich, satisfying, show; not relentlessly bust-a-gut hilarious, perhaps, but beguiling, sentimental and rewarding. Comedy is one puzzle this Enigma Solver has clearly sussed out.
Reviewed by Steve Bennett