Do things that scare you: Bobbie Viney on closure, comedy, cabaret

Rejection is hard. Some people take it well, some don’t. Then there’s Bobbie Viney who wrote a one-woman comedy cabaret about love, life, and the woes of being ghosted, full of personal monologues and quirky original songs. Closure at a Self-Serve Checkout is Viney’s debut at the Adelaide Fringe and it opened on 17 February. She tells the niche yet oh-so-relatable stories of love, life, and being ghosted by a boy with a moustache in an hour of quirky, energetic, and delightful stand-up monologues and original witty songs. The former-Victorian shares her inspiration behind this creation, and what it’s like to now call South Australia home.

Bobbie Viney stars in Closure at a Self-Serve Checkout | image supplied

What made you want to create this solo show?

This show was borne partially out of creative restlessness, and largely out of heartache and my coping mechanisms to deal with it. After being ghosted by a boy I was seeing for almost six months, I found myself in Melbourne’s 2020 lockdowns with no distractions and nothing to do but to stew on the pain of the end of a relationship with no sense of closure. In the challenging times in my life, I have always turned to music. Always belting out the songs of others, but never able to express my own sentiments in verse. Until one day I wrote a silly one. Suddenly, through humour I was able to express my pain whilst simultaneously making myself and my mum (having had to move back home during lockdown) laugh at the absurdity of it all. I left those silly songs behind in 2020 and moved along with my life.

Come 2022, I found myself feeling big feelings as I always do, and revisiting what I had written during that time. I was in a new state now in SA, far away from the reality of the past and people who knew me, and in a post-covid world where the possibility of performing stories on stage again had returned. When I played what I had [written] to friends, I was surprised at the reception and the deep relatability that resonated with my test-audiences. So I thought, ‘heck, why not create a show of this and see what happens?’. Hilariously, I’ve never been able to sing in front of people and famously would almost pass out from anxiety every group singing class we had at uni. But what’s life about if not doing what scares the absolutely living daylights out of us and seeing if we survive? And who knows, maybe we’ll have a positive impact on someone who resonates with our story along the way.

Bobbie Viney on stage | image supplied

Who are some of your comedic and musical influences?

My musical taste has always been influenced by my older brothers, so a lot of sad-boy indie. Think: The National, Bright Eyes, Bon Iver, and Leonard Cohen. In more recent years I have discovered my pop girlie era with artists like Maisie Peters and Gretta Ray. But one thing they all have in common is brilliant lyricism. Since I was a kid I have been drawn to music that tells a story, and those artists all do it in a way that gives an incredible sense of honesty and raw feeling.

As for musical comedy, whilst the cabaret scene is one I am new to, a few names pop to mind. I was raised on Tim Minchin, (introduced to him certainly younger than I should have been). I remember watching the DVD of his show Ready for this? when I was 13 with my older brother and his friends. It was absolutely outrageous as a 13 year old, but I remembered almost every word to ‘Prejudice’ from that day forward and have never forgotten the impact of watching Tim perform. (Though I also remember my brother saying: “Don’t tell mum you’re watching this.”)

I believe Tim Minchin is a true genius, both in his ridiculous musical ability and his sharp-witted political commentary, he is one of the greats and the master of the craft.

– Bobbie viney

More recently, I am a huge fan of Melbourne comedian Michelle Brasier. Her show Average Bear at the Adelaide Fringe last year moved me to tears and has stuck with me since. Her ability to tell stories both hilarious and tragic whilst cradling the audience through it the whole time is remarkable. Not to mention her powerhouse voice, one that I could only dream of in another life.

And of course, South Australia’s own Millicent Sarre. Mim’s work is always delightful to watch, an incredible musician and storyteller who tells the truths of living in this world as a woman, breaking down feminism for such a wide audience, and doing it all with a smile and inviting nature that brings everyone into the conversation.

How does your South-Aussie lifestyle compare to that of your Victorian one?

I love Adelaide. I only ever meant to come across for a visit in the beginning of 2021, but I simply never left. The geography really drew me in. I was incredibly privileged to grow up on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, surrounded by beach and country. And as a kid I always said I wanted to live “in the mountains but near a beach” when I grew up… I didn’t think such a place existed until I came here!

I still can’t believe the sweeping Adelaide Hills, the incredible beaches, and the city centre, are all so close together. I absolutely love Melbourne, and there is a lot I miss about my Melbourne lifestyle. But it is quieter here, and I don’t think I would have developed so much both as a person and an artist in the past two years had it not been for my move to the slower paced and magnificently-spaced Adelaide.

Closure at a Self-Serve Checkout is on at the Howling Owl from 17 to 25 February at 6pm each night (no shows on the Sunday and Monday). A regional run in Murray Bridge at the Bridgeport Hotel will run from 2 to 3 March. Tickets are available here.

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