Vault Festival 2018: Assmonkey: In Conversation
As is widely known, misery loves comedy. There are scholarly articles, documentaries and TED talks about the link between depression and humour and how the latter is used to cope with the former. Sophia Del Pizzo’s new piece Assmonkey: In Conversation, which is part stand-up, part concert and part group therapy, is executed in such a way – it’s an uproariously funny show about anxiety, depression and masturbation.
Del Pizzo says that some of her most severe anxiety attacks happened when she was about to go on stage. For somebody who used to freak out when the time came, she performs remarkably in this one-woman show that sees her switch characters multiple times over the hour and her energy only increases as the presentation goes on.
She embodies various characters important to the therapeutic process of her life. They include a teacher, a yoga instructor, and, of course, therapist. The only detriment to this otherwise wildly funny assortment is the Miss Havisham-esque teacher, a character type that’s been played to death.
However, the best moments of the show are when Del Pizzo is simply herself. She has an incredible degree of self-awareness, which leads to a lot of good meta jokes. As more details of her bouts with anxiety and depression are revealed, it’s transparent that Assmonkey is pure catharsis for her. At any given moment, it could slip into self-indulgence. She knows this though, so she doesn’t overlook the value of entertainment and keeps the crowd laughing with a mixture of hysterical songs, out-there personas and comical off-colour references. Later, she takes it one step further by engaging with them through therapeutic group exercises that, ultimately, render the evening as one that benefits both herself and her audience.
Assmonkey showcases a versatile set of talents for a performer with a bright future with a lot going on in the space of 60 minutes, between the numerous guises and the bricolage structure of it all. After demonstrating her superlative ability in sending important messages in the funniest fashion, Sophia Del Pizzo marks herself as one to watch.
Assmonkey: In Conversation is at Vault Festival 2018 from February 7th until 11th February 2018. For further information or to book visit the festival website here.