Culture

Amy Gledhill review – juicy stories of sexual and romantic catastrophe

The Girl Before the Girl You Marry, Amy Gledhill calls her new show, which traces a life of watching ex-boyfriends swiftly get hitched. Audiences will, I suspect, offer her a long-term commitment of their own after this solo debut, which could hardly be more endearing. Gledhill has fringe previous as one half of nonsense northern sketch duo The Delightful Sausage. The blunt and bubbly persona survives intact from that act, as the Hull native invites us into her life as a “human property developer”, fixing up men before relinquishing them – at little profit, alas – to their next owners.

If that metaphor suggests a degree of coyness in Gledhill’s approach to the material, forget it. She has a squeaky dog-toy concealed in her bra, to make her boobs honk: this isn’t a genteel comedian. One anecdote finds teenage Amy dancing for a royal audience, and a breast breaking loose from her strapless leotard. Another finds her locking eyes with her boyfriend, who’s having a sit-down pee while she tries to enjoy her romantic bath.

Beyond all these, she has “one juicy story”, she tells us, which we have to wait for. That’s a high-risk strategy: fringe audiences can be impatient. But Gledhill – giggling throughout, revelling in her repeated indignities – is so likable, so capable at making us feel like her exclusive confidantes, that the pre-juicy stories feel pretty juicy themselves. There’s adroit joke-making at work too, as when the words “Japan was fine” are deployed, very effectively, to punchline a routine about an encounter with an outsized lover.

Maybe it’s hard to go wrong with a show that’s largely about sexual and romantic catastrophe. Gledhill certainly scores some easy wins here, with a section on the interactions between erections and elastic waistbands and a closing anecdote about a woozy trip on cannabis chocolates. But she brings the latter to life with cartoonish flair. The juicy story, when it comes, is a doozy too, about another breathtaking instance of Gledhill being passed over for someone else. With shows like this, there’s small danger of audiences giving her the elbow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button