Viv Groskop @ Underbelly Bristo Square
Half unconvincing love letter to Oprah Winfrey, half weekly-column-read-out-loud, Viv Groskop’s search for her best self lacks genuine emotion
Vivalicious was initially meant to be called Russian Dolls, reflecting Groskop’s intention to expose the different layers of humanity, but instead, she was encouraged to go with a less pretentious name. The problem is that the show only scratches the surface of her own self-help journey, focusing much more on what might happen if Oprah Winfrey rose to power, the wrongdoings of Melania Trump, and the 'wisdom' supposedly imparted by her own children.
Instead of turning the lens on herself, potentially tapping into recognisable insecurities and emotional conundrums, she creates a narrative that is void of heart. Groskop puts the spotlight on Oprah Winfrey – who she claims to love while ridiculing every aspect of her – spending considerable time bringing the audience up to speed about her monthly magazine and personal relationships. As Groskop puts it herself, this is necessary information to be able to follow the show, but it’s more educational than funny.
Vivalicous is about being your best self, and if this self isn’t perfect that’s fine. But supposedly it’s OK to avoid the company of people whose best self is better than yours, because "nobody wants to be friends with a vegan or someone who gets out of bed at 5am." It’s a puzzling message from someone who wants to talk about self-help but won't let anyone too close. This show might appeal to people like Groskop – educated, conventional, mums who think they’re it because they swear a bit and like a drink – but even a sense of kinship is unlikely to make up for the lack of sincerity and emotional hooks.
Viv Groskop: Vivalicious, Underbelly Bristo Square (Clover), 1-26 Aug (not 13), 4:10pm, £6.50-10
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