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.
By Ron Bingham
This is a selection of shows from the fringe presented by Sam and Helen, whose show I had seen (in the same room) a couple of hours earlier. Our friendly hosts start the show by getting to know the audience with a little gentle banter, then they get down to business and introduce the first act of the evening.
Aideen McQueen gave me the line of the evening by describing the room as the inside of an obese gay man’s coffin which was surprisingly apt. Aideen was very funny with her tale of picking up a younger man through a simple vocal misunderstanding. She doesn’t appear to have a show at the Fringe (her name didn’t appear on the fringe search and I don’t seem to have a flyer for her).
After Aideen, we had the token male Sean something (he gave me a flyer after the show, but it turned out to be for someone else’s show. That’s not helping!). He told a few tales about being mistaken for Phil Jupitus (in bad light) and being heckled in the streets of Edinburgh by an emo (do emo’s still exist?) but he lost my respect when he started picking on Australians. His gauche attacks on the noble Australians were rebuffed expertly by the next act (with a little half time aerobics from out hosts between), Yve Blake.
Yve is a delightful Australian who’s website requests people to share their deepest secrets with her, which she then turns into songs. Yve only had the time to perform one song, about a young lady who was determined to lose her virginity for the bragging rights, and it was a corker. Another show to add to the ever-growing list of shows I’d like to see.
Following Yve was the final guest from the overflowing comedy cup, Amy Howerska, a Polish-Welsh Jewish redhead who brought the evening to a smashing end with some funny routines about her family and other mad people. I’m seeing her show today.
To summarise, this is a lovely fun hour of entertainment hosted by a friendly and engaging duo, featuring a ever-changing cast of guest artists from round the Fringe showcasing the best of their shows/material. The room was sold out on Wendesday so booking would be an excellent idea for those looking for a funny, comedian-packed end to the evening.
It’s in the Just The Tonic’s Wee Room.