In the Week 2 edition of the Festival magazine, "Three Weeks", there’s an insightful interview with Guy Masterson, the veteran Fringe performer, award winning actor, writer and director. He gives some professional tips on how to create a successful solo show which “ must not be about you.. it must be about the audience .. you can spend a fortune on set and costumes and bore the pants off them.”
A shame that Melissa Booth didn’t read this before devising "Something Borrowed," a semi-autobiographical romantic comedy in which she plays herself. Last year, at 9.23pm on 26 August during the Edinburgh Fringe, she became engaged to her boyfriend, but now has second thoughts about the terrifying prospect of marriage till death do us part.
The curious, confusing dramatic structure has Melissa appearing as a stand up comedian and then stepping away from the mic, in brief flashback scenes. She re-enacts the proposal scene – a moment of silence, shock horror, gormless expression. Revealing her love of romantic movies, on screen we are treated to a selection of key scenes from Casablanca, Serendipity, When Harry met Sally etc. Meanwhile, a recording of her fiancée describing their first date is totally distracting while watching Humphrey Bogart and Meg Ryan.
From her feminist standpoint she believes that marriage is an outdated institution and why should she take her husband’s surname and change from Booth to Murdock?. She pegs big fat letters from their names onto a washing line, rather like a word game for 4 year olds on Play School.
Next up, we have to endure watching Mel doing keep fit exercises (getting trim for her Big Day), an embarrasing dance routine to "Put a Ring on It" and her sob story about finding the perfect Wedding dress. Through a series of sketches, the performance style is akin to Miranda Hart in her role as an eccentric, jolly hockey sticks, social misfit – but without any of the humour.
The personal angst of Melissa’s wedding day jitters does not create theatrical entertainment. This tediously dull and unoriginal 45 minute show bored the pants of me and (given an absence of laughs), most of the audience. Budding solo Fringe performers - do heed Guy Masterson’s advice!.
3 – 29 August @ 12.30.
Ticket prices: £ 11.00 (£10.00), £ 10.00 (£9.00), £9.00 (£8.00)