Edinburgh Fringe 2019
mandy picks a husband is a hilarious solo show about dating and learning to love oneself. Peppered with snippets of re-worded 80s and 90s classics it is full of fun. Yet it also carries a dark heart of trauma that challenges and moves.
mandy picks a husband is billed as “a hilarious rollercoaster ride through one-woman’s journey to falling in love … with herself”.
It is indeed hilarious. Amanda Broomell, who wrote and performed this solo show, is funny and smart, not to mention curvaceous (an asset she makes the most of). Amanda is disarming as she starts to take us through the ups and downs (and some ins and outs) of her dating history. Some scenarios are painfully familiar; some painfully funny. We learn about her favourite reality dating show The Bachelorette. We hear about her therapy.
Broomell peppers the show with snippets of re-worded 80s and 90s classics to give emphasis to a particular story or emotion. Her joy in singing, and our recognition (of at least some of the songs) pull us in.
But it is once she has us in her proverbial palm that Broomell starts to deliver the real rawness of this show. There is a dark heart at the centre of the comedy, and Broomell tells some difficult home truths – about body image, abuse and addition – with a humour and stoicism that gets under our defences. Jaws are dropped.
At times Broomell herself is moved, and deeply moving. Some longer musical interludes would have worked well here.
Amanda’s story continues, becoming a saga of epic proportions as she describes the multiple therapies, self help groups and discovery programmes she tries in an effort to cultivate intimacy while facing the demons of past trauma. Some of these tales are rude, some sad, many hilarious. There are perhaps a few too many of them to fully take in, and a little tightening of the story might strengthen the show further.
But overall this is a cleverly structured, neatly delivered and hilarious tale, with a heart of raw emotion that challenges and moves us.
Mandy Picks a Husband is at theSpace, North Bridge at 12:15 until 17 Aug