Reviewed by James Karas
Adam Lazarus, for those who don’t know him, is a talented man of the theatre including an outstanding stand-up comic. His comedy is witty, physical, raunchy, scatological and moving. He brings all those traits to his one-man show Daughter that he wrote and co-created with Ann-Marie Kerr, Jivesh Parasram and Melissa D’Agostino. Kerr directs the performance.
For Daughter, Lazarus adopts the character of a lower class Jew and starts with a description of playing with his six-year old daughter. He dances and she “dances” with him; she is clever, delightful and wonderful. Then he pushes her hard into her bed and we start with his neuroses, doubts and other incidents of his life.
He covers a lot of ground. He describes incidents like losing his virginity, drinking urine. Eating (sort of) feces, playing an injurious and mean-spirited prank on an unattractive girl, having affairs, having sex with hookers and contracting gonorrhea and protecting his daughter.
The longest segment is his description of preparing for the birth of his daughter, the endless labour and her actual birth.
Like some chic and modern parents, Adam and his wife decide to deliver their child using the system of hypno-birthing. The system as described by Lazarus uses a lot of very funny psychobabble and he as the nervous father with his camping equipment lives through it and entertains us.
Adam Lazarus. Photo: John Lauener
His daughter refuses to exit and the doctors recommend Caesarian delivery. His wife starts doing yoga exercises between labour pains (which Lazarus describes quite graphically) and between her pains and fainting, the child is turned around. No need for C section.
The urine in the cup marked juice and the feces placed in a bowl using an ice cream scooper and then throwing chocolate sprinkles in top is quite hilarious.
The story of the unattractive girl who is supposed to be frightened out her wits as someone jumps out of a freezer in her basement has unpleasant consequences as she ends up in the hospital for a week with an asthma attack.
You get about seventy minutes of varied routines with his daughter as the unifying theme. It is all done on an empty stage with a stool and a couple of minor props.
Lazarus had the youthful audience in the palm of his hand throughout the performance. He could evoke a laugh by a look, a movement or a line in a way that most performers must dream about.
Daughter, written and performed by Adam Lazarus in a coproduction by The Theatre Centre, Quip Take with Pandemic Theatre, continues until November 19, 2017 at The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. West, Toronto, Ontario. www.theatrecentre.org. 416 538-0988