‘Google Amanda Jane Dildo’
Sometimes you just have to hang out in a basement bar with some drunk Scots on a Sunday afternoon. That’s the way it goes. As I arrived for Amanda Jane Pritchard’s show - that’s exactly what I was greeted with at Fingers Piano Bar. A lot of people having a cracking time at half five on a Sunday doing an impromptu sing-a-long with the previous cabaret act. People come, people go - it’s all very laissez faire.
By the time Amanda takes to the stage for her show there’s a real buzz about the place - a celebratory atmosphere where quite frankly we can talk frankly. And she does. Frequently. As the title of the show suggests - this is not one for the wobbly hearted. If you do Google Amanda Jane Dildo as instructed...well on your own head be it. (Don’t - just don’t)
To give a simple précis of the show would be this. Amanda has taken all of the songs you love and utterly corrupted them so you’ll never quite hear them the same way again. Including at least one that was played at my Nan’s funeral. If you like a show that ‘doesn’t go there’ then this one is definitely not for you.
Die Hard fans of Dolly Parton, The Communards, The Beatles, Elton John, Britney Spears and many more.....be warned - you might need a quiet word with Amanda at the end about some of your dearly loved tuneage. She’s taken it and ripped its heart out to be replaced by her own beating organ. One which moves at a very unique and different rhythm to yours.
Because this is Amanda’s show.
You don’t like it? It’s the free fringe and there’s the door. (No-one did that by the way - just merely pointing out that the exits are never locked in these situations and we all have the ability to exert our free will in awkward cultural situations) (plus there’s fire regs and stuff)
By the time the fourth parody song has come around (This time it’s the Eagles getting the treatment) we’ve got at least two sex toys out on the table and you do find yourself thinking “Where’s she going with all this?”
And then comes the graph. The mood chart depicting Amanda’s mental state over the last thirteen years as she gains a diagnosis for and comes to terms with symptoms of bipolar disorder. And it all clicks. The self-destructive behaviour in the songs, the risk taking with the audience, the ability to shock but not be non-plussed by half the room looking like a bunny in headlights.
This is not ‘Shockfest 2019’ - it’s an autobiography played out in the artist’s safe space - namely a no holds barred, straight to the point Aussie cabaret comedy. It’s true that at times there are a few frayed edges around the numbers (notably at the end of songs when audiences were a little unsure if a couple of the routines were finished) but considering Amanda and her excellent acoustic guitar accompanist Josh have known each other for just two weeks and met each other on Gumtree (who knew you could do that?!) I’m definitely going to let that slide.
The show finished with aplomb, taking Phil Collins and giving him the kind of injection of life his career has sadly needed since the late eighties. And then we left and were given a badge. Mine says “Will f**k for chicken wings”. For reference I won’t - I require at least a variety meal for you to get that kind of promise -but at least the sentiment is there.
You want true variety in your fringe experience? Go see Amanda.
‘Google Amanda Jane Dildo’ is showing at Fingers Piano Bar until Aug 25 (not 12th or 19th) at 17:30