Bigger and bolder than ever, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is currently celebrating thirty – two exciting years. In 2018, there are more than six hundred choices on offer.

These highly – diverse options include art exhibitions, cabaret, competitions, debates, improvisation, kids’ comedy, musicals, sketch shows, song cycles, theatre, and traditional stand – up. Put simply, there is something of interest available for everyone.

Demi Lardner is the one – woman star of I Love Skeleton.

At 23, this rising talent has won a slew of accolades, including:

  • The Underbelly Edinburgh Award – Adelaide Fringe (2017);
  • The Director’s Choice Award – Melbourne International Comedy Festival (2017);
  • The Best Newcomer Award – Sydney Comedy Festival (2016);
  • So You Think You’re Funny – Edinburgh Fringe (2013);
  • Raw Comedy – Melbourne International Comedy Festival (2013); and,
  • BankSA Best Emerging Comedy – Wolf Creek: The Musical (2013).

Last year, along with her own show, she was one of the stand out artists from Upfront – Femme Fatale. Working since the tender age of fifteen, Lardner already has an impressive body of work to her name, with solo appearances both in Australia and around the globe.

But that’s not all. Television series performing and writing credits include Open Slather, Suspect Moustache and Get Krackin’.

Her fifty – minute set runs along similar lines.  Drawing on that rich and diverse background in sketch comedy, her style here is fast – paced, observational, fearless and random. Put simply, if Joel Creasey is the crown prince, Lardner is the queen of quirk. Or the very least, Australia’s own court jester.

Without giving too much detail away, Lardner twists the everyday into a personal journey. Allowing viewers inside her mind, her grab bag of topics and themes covers:

  • Beard Snatching;
  • Dad’s Google History;
  • Diagnostics;
  • Different Kinds Of Crying;
  • Going To The Park;
  • Married For Twenty – Five Years;
  • Nana Parade;
  • Overheard Train Conversations;
  • Poetry Readings;
  • Strong Boys;
  • The Talk;
  • Weekly Dinner With My Dad;
  • Wife Swap; and
  • Who’s Got Lint?

Using The Victoria Hotel’s Acacia Room to clear advantage, nobody is safe within this intimate setting. Audience participation is not only a critical part of the experience, it is delightfully enforced. Meaning, no one is safe. (You have been warned!)

Breaking free from the traditional stand – up format, Lardner often interacts with a collection of props, as well as pre – recorded sound and musical effects to tell her tale. Keeping our attention fixed at all times, the non – linear format jumps between both short and longer skits.

In reviewing this preview show, it is clear that Lardner has quite the fan base. Her on –stage persona is charming and refined. Everyone in attendance thoroughly enjoyed riding the wave; it was a delight to be included in on the joke.

Odd yet accessible, Lardner’s routine is destined to be one of this year’s festival highlights. I Love Skeleton plays until Sunday, April 22. Check it out while you can.