The Lion, The Bitch and The Wardrobe- Making the Lion Your Bitch

I mistakenly thought that The Lion, The Bitch and The Wardrobe would be some kind of C.S. Lewis parody, but things are not what they seem at The Vancouver Fringe Festival. The lion in this story is not some omnipotent God-like figure, but Sharon Mahoney’s crippling anxiety. Mahoney shares her own battles with anxiety and panic attacks in her hilarious and deeply personal show The Lion, The Bitch and The Wardrobe. She honestly discusses the stigma around mental health and that no matter how creatively talented, no one is immune to mental illness.

I do not usually enjoy street performances, but the combination of stand-up comedy, interpretive dance and puppetry make for a wild ride. Mahoney’s writing is sharp as it is ridiculous; throughout the show she makes comments on society's expectations of women, like the smug parents who judge her for not having kids, and what it is like to have “the lion” on your back always calling you a bitch at every turn. It is an incredibly brave to perform your metaphorical battle with anxiety for an audience and Mahoney has balls. Not only for discussing mental health but also for performing her outrageous street performance act as an overly sexual caricature of Canadian stereotypes. Be prepared from some outrageous sketch comedy, street performing hat tricks and audience participation

But don't get the wrong idea, the show is not just about the use of humour as a coping mechanism (albeit there was a stupidly funny lion hand puppet) there are also moments of truth and vulnerability. It’s amazing that Mahoney shares her story with such grace and humour and for that the audience was cheering her on the entire way.

By Stephanie Lo