MICF – Lauren Bok Boklesque

by | Mar 27, 2024

By Jessica Taurins

Lauren Bok describes herself as a “burlesque jester” in the blurb for her Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024 show ‘Boklesque’, which is a staggeringly apt title for this extraordinary performer.

Opening with (semi-)custom music and a (very) custom outfit, ‘Boklesque’ is an instant feast for the senses. The show’s home, the Butterfly Club, is already an intimate venue, but Bok draws the crowd’s attention to her from the moment she steps onstage. It takes only moments to be reminded that the show is ultimately a comedy with some clever lyrical additions to the opening number, but Bok’s smooth transitions from effortlessly sexy to silly gremlin person are a real joy to behold.

‘Boklesque’ is a parody burlesque show, with Bok as its sole performer. There is a warm and courteous host whose positivity is slowly consumed by the rest of the performers, a half-sensual half-silly dancer who seems to be afraid of her props, the one girl who honks, and my favourite of the evening, a nerdlesque dancer in an R2-D2 leotard with a hula hooping performance that is out of this galaxy.

The subversion of burlesque stereotypes is such fun during the performance that if the dancing wasn’t keeping the audience on the edge of their tiny seats, the anticipation of any upcoming joke certainly would be. There are props used in unexpected ways, some very out-of-place noises, and a draw for a door prize that doesn’t end the way anyone would expect. Bok’s ability to weave these moments through the show really highlights her expertise with the art of comedic timing.

Bok has previously been called a triple threat performer, and ‘Boklesque’ shows that her skills are still sharp. In addition to her character work and physical performance, one of the girls is a singer, and Bok’s performance is a wonderful example of dedication to character. Bok has honed her skills across stages for 10+ years now, but it is a testament to her abilities that she continues to unearth new ways to be funny every time she treads the boards.

‘Boklesque’ isn’t heavily reliant on audience participation, but there are moments, so if you’re shy, stay away from the front row. Even the tech is pulled into the performance with some good-natured banter, which is bloody funny if you’re someone who is a) really good at coming up with names for things b) someone who really likes mid-2000s emo music.

As an enjoyer of funny jokes and boob tassels, ‘Boklesque’ is an early contender for my personal (unofficial) MICF ’24 Best Of. Well worth the watch.

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