Simply the Breast

Simply the Breast
Amelia Ryan. Adelaide Fringe 2019. Le Cascadeur at The Garden of Unearthly Delights. Feb 17- Mar 3, 2019

This is the third time I have seen this amazing woman in performance and again, she never fails to impress and delight. Amelia Ryan, is a dynamo. A talented performer with comedic flair and the ability to write accessible, hilarious original parodies; her show Simply the Breast is a ‘do not miss’ piece of theatre at The Fringe 2019.

Her show is immediately relatable, as she tells honest, side splitting stories, carrying us from her childhood to the birth of her son Archie in 2017. From her entrance, with a very apt ‘prop’, to a poignant and heartfelt song dedicated to her son, she has the audience eating out of her hand. It is rare to see a performer who can ‘read’ an audience so well, who involves them and makes a very real connection. It was particularly evident on opening night that she was there for the mothers in the audience.

To share all of the songs and parodies she covered would take a long time- but highlights were the story of her childhood- discovering her father was gay in What’s going on?!, the ‘storm’ time of her life when she purports to have been a mess, and her time as an exotic dancer-Dancing Queen- which has the audience in hysterics at her rather terrible efforts at lap dancing. From here we follow her journey to her first solo show as she finds her way as a performer, and her love affair with alcohol. A parody wine after wine is very relatable! Her truthful relation of how she met her husband Zac, to finding out she was pregnant from “two pink lines on a piddle stick” build to the climactic ending of the show. The medley of parodies to describe the birth of her child had audience members rolling with laughter, but at the same time, empathic with how her perfect birth plan went to hell on the day. Ring of fire andI’m on my way were true laugh out loud moments.

This reviewer and companion, however, were very much surprised by their reactions to her final song of the night- dedicated to Archie. Your World was co-written by Amelia with Adelaide composer Josh Belperio and poignantly shared with us the mothering protectiveness we feel when we bring a life into the world. This was a tear jerker but a joyful celebration of new life and its preciousness.

Amelia Ryan’s show, while a comedy, is also a social comment on perfection. We spend much of our life thinking that everyone else’s life is perfect through untrue social media posts, are told we need to provide the best for our children, have the perfect family and be the perfect mother. Ryan shows us that this is not achievable- we simply need to be the best (or Breast) we can be. We spend our lives with, to quote her- “all these buckets in front of us, which are only half full”- racing around trying to be everything to everybody. She truly delivered this message to her audience on opening night- we need to “make peace with the best of us”.

Shelley Hampton'

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