I sat in a sold-out attic room in the Mash House and waited for people to Tetris in. Amy Webber was doing most of the work herself, finding seats, urging people to shuffle up (politely) and make room.
A busy venue is an excellent problem to have. This is Amy’s first Edinburgh Fringe, and it is her first week. There may now be a photograph of this geeky blogger, lost in the crowds of the audience, that Amy took to celebrate.
I’ve been asked by friends and folk at the day job to recommend ‘not yet famous’ people to go see this year. I have a recommendation; go see Amy Webber: No Previous Experience.
People had high expectations before the show started. A crowd had gathered in the Mash House’s bar area, and news of her success elsewhere had gotten out. As we filed out, the banter changed from expectation to fulfilment after the performance. “That was good,” said the grumpy guy two rows ahead of me, who had spent most of the wait to get started moaning about the delay.
What to expect
Amy is a trained opera singer. She really can do it! There are demos of her operatic skills in No Previous Experience.
The show is the story of Amy, with short songs throughout. There is improv as Amy riffs with the crowd. Oh, and the big one – there is audience participation.
No Previous Experience‘s demands on the audience are safely lightweight unless your friends and family sacrifice you for therapy.
The gig is a sung CV (or resume for American friends), but it is also about therapy. Depending on your mindset, it might also be a form of musical therapy.
Expect, therefore, plenty of laughs and some tuneful songs. I suspect you’ll find time passes quickly and you’ll enjoy yourself.
I don’t think we, the audience, will get to be so close and personal with Amy Webber again.
I don’t think she does this gigging full-time yet. I would not be surprised if the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe changed that.
“Up close and personal” is the positive vibe of the show. It’s funny, but it’s also raw. It’s polished and authentic. I feel marketing teams and influencers are busily ruining the word “authentic”, so let’s use it here while it still has power and meaning. Amy’s show is authentic because it is drawn on her own strongly felt experiences and shared with honesty.
There are also audacious lies.
The juxtaposition of outrageous lies with heartfelt truths might be the secret sauce here. You know the lies and therefore feel the truths as clearly.
I hope I get to be an Amy Webber fan. I hope she goes on to the acclaim she deserves and that I don’t spend those years looking back thinking, “Yeah, it was better in ’23 – it was more personal before her big break”. I am, I know, being selfish. I have yesterday’s show as bragging rights forever.
Amy, I am sure, will develop the act. I think she’ll polish it more and improve it. I guess she tinkers. She’ll earn those experience points and use them wisely. If she returns to Edinburgh next year, there will be an even better gig.
No Previous Experience is both really good and really promising.
It’s clear to me that Amy is a caring and charismatic talent. It also feels likely to me that No Previous Experience will become that transformative experience that propels Amy Webber to the next level.
Fun, musical and surprisingly heartfelt. No Previous Experience at the Edinburgh Fringe 2023 feels like a chance to catch a rising star.