Reviews have to be written in the context of the cost of the ticket, and while Amy Howerska’s debut stand-up hour is by no means bad per se, it never quite rises to a level high enough to justify the hefty £11.00 price.
The final 15 minutes reveal that she is an emotionally authentic performer, genuinely connecting with the material
A slight wobble in whichever hand holds the microphone and a tendency to say, “So, um…” a lot reveal that Howerska is not yet fully confident on the stage. She comes out guns blazing but her material isn’t especially strong: a few of the gags are repackaged versions of things you feel you may have heard before, or will hear elsewhere at this Fringe. It’s not that they are stolen,, they’re just the sort of fairly obvious standard fare that a lot of comics starting out will turn to. Though her anecdotes reveal that she has clearly lived an interesting life, she never quite raises the roof or brings her stories to satisfying comedic climaxes. Taking a leaf from sketch comedy’s book and adding buttons on the end of each section to completely subvert what has come before would help with this, as would remembering Eddie Izzard’s rule, “Establish, reaffirm, kill.” The show moves along at the same level throughout: never terrible, but never excellent either.
Howerska does demonstrate that she has an eye for structuring an hour-long show by interspersing her act with occasional readings from her childhood diary to provide an ostensible change of format and keep things engaging. However the content of these sections is neither stronger nor substantially different from what surrounds them, so they never quite go as far as they could. The final 15 minutes reveal that she is an emotionally authentic performer, genuinely connecting with the material and family stories she tells us. Again, there is little here that is outright bad (with the exception of a clumsy ableist stereotype of people on the autistic spectrum), it’s all just okay.
Howerska clearly has potential; I don’t think this is her year but would like to see her return at the next Fringe with another year under her belt. Like a fine wine, she needs time to reach her peak. If Sasspot was part of the Free Fringe or cost £4.00 a ticket it would get a recommendation. But this August, for this price, you may be better off spending your money elsewhere.