By Ron Bingham
Amy was having a difficult show the night I was seeing her. The audience was very small and some people in the front row were rather off-putting, so the atmosphere was not what one would like for a comedy show. The mature aged couple sat there, he with his arms folded, without cracking a smile for the entire hour and Amy tried to engage them in conversation at times to find out if they were enjoying the show or uncomfortable and the response never moved from monosyllables. You have to wonder why people would pay money to see a show and then refuse to engage in any way with that show, or if not enjoying it, why not just leave and ask for their money back? Maybe they had a big argument in the bar before the show and it had nothing to do with the talented Amy Howerska. I saw Amy perform the same material to a more receptive audience the previous evening and this was a completely different experience. I will just review the show I experienced and hope that this was the low point of the festival (it was Thursday in the middle of the fest, so crowds were down) and that things improved for her afterwards.
The astonishing and hilarious story Amy tells of growing up in a Polish-Irish Jewish family living in Wales, with three generations of sky-diving enthusiasts throughout the family was enthralling. Her father was an ex-assassin who suffered from PTSD and used to take Amy and her sister on survival training missions in the Welsh hills during winter when they were 7 and 9. They grew up on the drop zone of the parachute centre (thus seeing a lot of accidents and fatalities) and were left in the creche at the shooting range (kiddie targets). She described a whole series of mad relatives (although Auntie Barb sounds like a pretty cool nutcase), hating weddings and loving funerals (the buffet and lack of judgement winning it for the latter) and enjoying living in London. There were no props or music, just Amy telling increasingly bizarre stories about her family. I did get the feeling there was enough material still untapped in Amy’s past for a sit-com or book so that bodes well for her career as a comedian.
All I can say is that this is a very good show looking for an attentive audience ready to enjoy some exceptional storytelling.