Exhibit Amy
Amy Bodossian @ Ambassadors Hotel
10:30pm, Sat 3 Mar 2012
I’ve rocked up at Queen’s Theatre to see Horse, grabbed a drink, and sat down to pound out some notes; the venue is dead, with my presence increasing the head-count in the foyer area by 50%. I start chatting to the front-of-house minder – she eyes the empty space, and tells me that performer Flick Ferdinando is feeling ill… Horse may not be on. I immediately pull out my phone and start checking for something else on my shortlist.
Fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time, the cancellation is confirmed: I smile, ask for my best wishes to be passed on to Flick (whilst passive-aggressively indicating that I probably wouldn’t be able to see the show on another day), and scoot around to Ambassadors to see Exhibit Amy.
There’s only about some-teen people in for the show this evening, and – with the exception of a table near the front that provided a haven for two gigglish couples – the audience seemed to be completely comprised of older men with scruffy hair, all of whom elected to sit as far from the stage’s light bleed as possible. I swear that a couple of them even had trench-coats on to complete the “dirty old man” look; I can only hope that I didn’t appear to fall into that category as well.
As her accompanist tinkled some electric ivories, Amy Bodossian stumbles through the audience from the back of the room, clad only in a night-shirt. She occasionally stops at tables, handing out pencils and posing for people, encouraging them to sketch her; eventually, she makes it onto the stage and launches (well, ambles – and I mean that in the best way possible) into her opening song, the titular Exhibit Amy.
From there, Amy ducks and weaves through an hour of material, scooting between spoken word, song, and poetry; all the while she’s gradually getting dressed for a night out, donning underwear(!), a sleek black cocktail dress, and gorgeous heels. It feels like she’s working with a very loose framework, with her songs and readings allowing her the ability to inject quick little asides without ruining the flow of proceedings (for which her accompanist – on keys, drums, and guitar – also deserves credit). And that makes the act feel vibrant and exciting; you’re convinced that pretty much anything could happen.
The only problem for me was that the style of delivery was very reminiscent of last year’s show, Phlegm Fatale… as was some of the material (the lustful tale of the ladybug and grasshopper, and the strikingly masculine I Want You). And that familiarity threatens to take the edge off that loose feeling of freedom… but that’s most definitely my problem, not Amy’s.
Exhibit Amy felt a little rough on the night: it seemed that Amy was still working some of the kinks out of her material and blocking, and there were a few speaker cut-outs and gear problems. But none of that can change the fact that I am equal parts smitten and scared by Amy; I adore her physicality, her dirty words, and her confidence… and I’m terrified by her blunt sexuality and confidence. And that makes for a squirmingly entertaining experience.