REVIEW: Total Snoozefest, Donna Collins - Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Donna Collins is tired, so very tired. But it’s not a competition, okay? She doesn’t care if you start work at 2am or you’ve got kids or you’re haunted by Freddy Krueger… okay, she cares about that last one. She doesn’t wish that on you.

She’s been tired for a long time, but she was also single for most of her twenties, so nobody ever slept with her long enough to notice that she’s strangling herself in bed. But not in an erotic way.

Calling your show Total Snoozefest is risky, but this is about Donna’s journey to discover why she doesn’t sleep and what she can do to try to fix it. It helps that she’s got a girlfriend now, who was able to help figure things out while they were watching an episode of Bob’s Burgers about a snoring child. “That’s what you do,” she exclaimed. Representation matters!

Donna went to doctors, specialists and did a sleep study – a process that was stretched out by the pandemic, to finally find an answer.

Total Snoozefest is a well-crafted show about Donna and wrestling with a condition that threatens to kill her. Her shy, nervous persona works for the story she’s telling (she is very tired, after all) but with some more confidence, some of her jokes might land better. She does have a charming way of brushing off flubbed segues and other self-deprecating tools she uses to get through the show, though.

In the beginning, Donna embraces being a night owl (she can worry about climate change at 2am!) and argues that she doesn’t need to be an early bird to catch the worm if she stays up late enough. But over the journey of the show, she learns a lot more about herself, her relationships, and the sleep monster.

I don’t know if this is Donna’s first Comedy Festival show but it has the nervous energy of one; this show is honest, open and charming. Far from a snoozefest, Donna Collins keeps the laughs coming. And the deeper into her struggles we go, the funnier it gets. And if she can make a living at being a standup, she doesn’t have to worry about going to bed early ever again.

- Keith Gow, Theatre First

This Total Snoozefest is on at the Motley Bauhaus as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival and it closes tonight.