Amy Matthews @ Monkey Barrel
Amy Matthews makes for a delightful leading lady in her Edinburgh Fringe show, Moreover, The Moon
For non followers of pop-psychology, it may be helpful to explain Main Character Syndrome. It's what happens when someone is self-interested to the point of considering themselves a main character, surrounded by background actors, in the film of their life. To learn more, you can either download TikTok (no thank you!), or go to see Amy Matthews, who's sharing her experience of the phenomenon in her debut Edinburgh Fringe hour Moreover, The Moon.
Matthews has a brilliant knack for duality in her storytelling – she might be reading an excerpt from the Amélie script in a spot of pitch-perfect character work, but her face still tells us exactly what she thinks of the dialogue. She also leans into the time-honoured comedic tradition of the self-lambast, although in taking herself down, she’s not afraid to take a solid portion of her audience down with her. Her understanding of the room is a real strength (who they are, their tastes and which cultural phenomena they are and aren’t aware of) – but while she knows who this key group are, there’s a joke in the set for every demographic. She also has elegant (and more importantly, funny) ways of keeping us in on the joke when she strays outside of her normal thematic lines.
At times the show relies a touch too heavily on simply mocking our heroine – it would be great to get more analysis of her stories, rather than just a description of events transpiring. The trope allows for several of the show’s best moments, but also a few of its weakest – the retelling of her anxious childhood thought patterns is hilarious and relatable in equal measure, but the live reading of short stories Matthews penned during lockdown could probably make way for a deeper exploration of her central theme. Though that would give the set a greater coherence, coherence isn’t exactly a requirement for great comedy – and this is a debut hour filled with undeniably solid laughs.
Amy Matthews: Moreover, The Moon, Monkey Barrel (Carnivore 1), until 28 Aug (not 15), 2.35pm, £5-7