How I Lost One Pound, the Musical

How I Lost One Pound, the Musical is something of a misnomer, as it is not actually a musical. The title also suggests a personal journey through weight loss attempts and an irreverent sense of humour, but it’s hard to tell what this show is exactly, since it doesn’t seem developed enough for presentation.

Performer Lesley Carlberg opens the show by apologizing to the audience that she doesn’t have her text completely memorized and therefore will call for line from time to time (this happened four times in the performance that I saw). For the next hour she tells us of her experiences trying to make it in the entertainment industry, her experiences as a suburban housewife, and her fading dedication to lose twenty pounds. It could be an engaging, interactive show, but it’s hard to tell if this is the case since Carlberg has such a loose command of her own text, with frequent “ums” and “uhs” punctuating her performance.

The rambling, unrehearsed nature of the performance is a shame, because there is quite a bit of material to work with that could be turned into a funny and informative show: Carlberg rattles off the various fad diets she’s tried (Atkins and South Beach among them), without going into any detail about the theories behind each diet; she occasionally throws out nutritional statistics (like the largely-debunked claim that you must burn 3500 calories to lose one pound) without offering any opinion on whether or not these statistics are helpful; she throws back to memories of her pessimistic grandmother quite often, but rather than her grandmother’s discouragement becoming an analog for her own self-doubt as a struggling performer and unsuccessful weight-loss enthusiast, the tone at these parts seems much more (to use the word from the show) vindictive.

Carlberg’s energy level as a performer is also fairly low; there’s not much of a transition in energy levels between the pre-show apologies and the show itself starting, giving the impression that Carlberg is talking to the audience rather than playing a fictionalized version of herself. There’s opportunity here to to build a character: there are mentions of her being a suburban mom who loves her chardonnay and has a crush on Jim Carrey to the point where she has a doll with a cutout of his face as part of the show. With a higher level of energy present, Carlberg would totally be able to poke gentle fun at herself – I’m reasonably certain this was what she was trying to do, but with the rather conversational tone of voice she uses it’s hard to tell what the intention behind the line is.

How I Lost One Pound, the Musical could be a good show, but its current production is undermined by a lack of preparation. In future it could be something to see, but for the moment this is not a show I can recommend.

How I Lost One Pound, the Musical
Created and Performed by Lesley Carlberg

At ODD Box (Venue 4)
Running Time: 60 minutes

Friday 16 June 11:00pm
Saturday 17 June 4:00pm

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