Dilruk Jayasinha is chuffed to be performing in the Lower Town Hall. One of the larger rooms of the comedy festival hub, it represents an ascension up the comedy ladder. He's been on the rise steadily for 10 years and his trajectory seems nicely on track. The venue is also where he attended his Australian citizenship ceremony, so it holds personal meaning.
To a comedian, anything personal is also potential material and Jayasinha mines a lot of his private life in a very engaging and tight show. From his brief stint on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, to living alone during lock down, dating apps and the joys and perils of dining by oneself in an Italian restaurant, Victorious Lion moves at a nice pace, ambling along and occasionally doubling back to tie strands together. It takes a more serious turn when Jayasinha talks about some internal demons, making salient points through a Pizza Hut delivery analogy.
Victorious Lion is a potential meaning of Jayasinha's name and he spends considerable time shooting the breeze with punters about the translations of their names. Thursday night's crowd had an Irish man whose name means "son of a half-leper" – which provided a good five minutes of laughs and nearly hijacked the show. There was also a rousing debate about the Hindi definition of "ruk," with some audience peeps offering university-level etymology.
The show taps into Sri Lankan and Indian language, very accessibly – and easily appeals to a diverse audience. Jayasinha has lived in Australia since his international accounting student days. He's transformed from overweight, binge-drinking first year to suave, sober professional with a cross-cultural perspective summed up by the fact that he loves butter chicken and can also talk about his mental health.
Victorious Lion straddles these nuances skillfully, weaving together a cohesive mix of self-mockery, observation and deep dives. The hour flies by – it feels light and easy, but is also peppered with gravitas.
It won't be long before even the Lower Town Hall will be too small a cage for Dilruk the victorious lion!
A Token Event
Venue: Melbourne Lower Town Hall | 100 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 25 March – 18 April 2021
Tickets: $32 – $25