She may be in her first year as a stand-up, but Amy Matthews has taken to it like a fish to water. One suspects there’s a background in performance here. You don’t get this kind of confidence and stage presence doing 5s and 10s on a rainy night at The Stand. It’s a Big Four style performance, not a Monkey Barrel lunchtime one.
However, the material’s not quite there to match it, yet. Anecdotes are long and chatty with insufficient pay-off. By the end, we’ve been listening intently to an impressive performer, but not doing all that much laughing.
It’s only a 25-minute set, but it’s been given a proper, if tenuous, theme – The Life Aquatic – which stretches from poster to lobster print t-shirt to routines about Noah’s Ark. Alongside the theming, it comes across as a touch check boxy – slight callback here, uplifting message at the end. The structure and intent of a full Fringe show is all there, but without the weight of material to back it and distract you, it’s somewhat see-through.
A piece about scattering her gran’s ashes is amusing and well-performed and sets up some pondering about what gran is doing in the afterlife. By contrast, a nostalgic anecdote about ‘Parachute Day’ at school causes something of a generational divide. She explains what it is for the benefit of oldies, but there’s little to make it funny other than ‘yes, we used to do that’. It’s used for one of those callbacks.
With the presence she has, you can well imagine big things for Amy Matthews, but you’d also hope for punchier, more characterful material.